Sunday, 9 August, 2020

Army seeks to invest in pride projects


By Purushottam P. Khatri

Kathmandu, Aug.1:  Nepali Army Headquarters (NAHQ) is mulling to submit a draft of amendment to the existing Military Act-2006 so as to clear the legal hurdle in investing in development projects as a promoter.
To amend the existing Military Act, the NA Headquarters has formed a task force coordinated by Legal Department of the Headquarters to do necessary homework to amend the Act, that include a wide range of areas including provision of allowing army’s investment in the various national pride projects and other infrastructure development as promoter, according to Major General and Chief of the Legal Department Ratna Prakash Thapa.
He made this remark while speaking at a press conference organised by the Nepali Army Welfare Fund to make the Fund’s budget public on Friday.
The present Act strictly prohibits the NAHQ from investing in mega scale infrastructure and the national pride projects run by the government as a promoter.
According to Major General Thapa, the draft of the amendment has almost been prepared and will be submitted to the Ministry of Defence.
“We are not the unit to promulgate the required laws for the NA, but the Headquarters has recently taken the views of the same line (allowing provision of doing investment in infrastructure) as a promoter to the Ministry of Defence on July 15, 2020, said Thapa.
“If the lawmaking bodies of the government consider and agree to allow the Army’s investment in the national pride projects, the NA Headquarters is all set to do required investment in the development of the country’s infrastructures,” he said. “This has been our long year of wish and desire,” he said.
Established in 1975, the NA Welfare Fund, with an initial amount of Rs. 12.4 million, has a deposit of Rs. 51.61 billion as its actual property as of the end of the fiscal year 2019/20.
During the last fiscal year (2019/20), the Fund saw increment of Rs. 7.29 billion from fiscal year (2018/19).
According to Brigadier General Sagar Bahadur K.C, director and chief at the Welfare Fund, as of July 15, 2020, the Fund has invested Rs. 5.74 billion in various sectors of health, education, and welfare schemes for the serving and retired families of the army personnel, land, and house loan to its army officials, medical sciences, production of emulsion plants, drinking water, oxygen, and textiles.
The highest amount of income in the Fund comes from the participants of the peacekeeping missions of the United Nations.
K.C said that still Rs. 50.2 million as principal amount of the Fund is at risk in several development banks and microfinance. In the previous years, such risk amount was Rs.850 million, he said. Also, the Fund has still an arrear of Rs. 74.3 million after clearing Rs. 127.02 million arrears in the fiscal year 2019/20.
According to the 56th annual report of the Auditor General, the NA has to clear the arrears of Rs. 201.41 million. 

How do you feel after reading this news?