Change of govt sends BAFIA amendment bill on the backburner

Published On: August 1, 2016 02:10 AM NPT By: Sagar Ghimire  | @sagarghi

KATHMANDU, Aug 1: Change of the government has delayed discussion and deliberation on the bill to amend and integrate Bank and Financial Institution Act (BAFIA).

Though the full house meeting of the parliament has sent the amendment bill back to Finance Committee for further review, the committee has not held deliberations on the amendment bill due to recent political developments.

Earlier on June 21, the full house of the parliament had sent back the bill for further discussion and revision following widespread criticisms on some of the provisions which were approved by the Finance Committee.

The Finance Committee, on May 26, had hastily approved the bill to send it to the full house for endorsement. During a discussion at the Finance Committee, Deepak Kuinkel, the coordinator of the sub-committee, which had finalized the amendment bill, had even said that the bill should be approved immediately, citing requests from Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) as part of 'international financial obligations'.

The Finance Committee, however, has now accorded less priority to the amendment bill. The committee has held a meeting to discuss on the amendment bill since the full house of the parliament reverted it to the committee for revision of some of the contentious provisions that had drawn flaks.  The full house has also instructed the Finance Committee to take consideration into contentious issues, relevant international practices and concerns expressed by stakeholders while making deliberations on the bill.

Prakash Jwala, chairman of the Finance Committee, told Republica that the committee could not hold discussions on the amendment bill due to change in government. "There would be a new government soon as the current prime minister has already resigned. Since we need to take views of the government on the amendment process, we have put on hold the discussions on BAFIA bill," said Jwala. "Once the new government is formed, the process will resume."

Among others, the Finance Committee's decision to scrap a provision that proposed limiting tenure of BFI board directors and chairs to a maximum two terms had prompted criticisms from banking experts who alleged that this was apparently at the behest of the legislators who were also promoters of BFIs.

Some of the committee members involved in the process received severe criticisms for including some of provisions which they allegedly put to serve their own interests.

While the full house decision to send back the bill will compel the Finance Committee to revisit the contentious provisions, the process will not be from involvement of legislators who have corporate or business interest over the issue.

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