Govt misses deadline for forming Natural Resources Commission

Published On: January 20, 2019 08:15 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Jan 20: The government has missed the deadline for giving full shape to the Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission (NRFC) as promised during the first ever meeting of the Inter-Provinces Council (IPC) last month. 

Giving full shape to the commission by mid-January was a major commitment of the federal government under the timeline for the implementation of federalism endorsed by the IPC meeting that concluded on December 19. 

The meeting, chaired by the prime minister and participated by key federal ministers and the chief ministers of all seven provinces, endorsed a 29-point strategy for effective implementation of federalism, including giving full shape to the NRFC within a month. 

“We are not surprised at the deadline being missed because nothing happens in Nepal in the time promised,” Province-2 Chief Minister Mohammad Lalbabu Raut told Republica.

“A whole bunch of commitments were made during the meeting, and some initiative was taken, but nothing has been delivered to the provinces so far,” he said. 

The government set up an office of the commission at Singha Durbar last year and also called for applications for the posts of chief and members of the NRFC along with various other constitutional commissions. But the Constitutional Council (CC), which is responsible for recommending constitutional body office bearers, is yet to pick the chiefs and members of the key commission that has authority to advise the government on revenue distribution to the local levels and provinces. 

“A roster has been readied based on the applications received at the CC secretariat, which is at the Prime Minister’s Office. It’s now up to the council to pick the chief and members from among applicants,” said Binod Kunwar, spokesperson at the PMO. 

According to sources, the council has been delaying its recommendations for chiefs and members of various constitutional bodies because of bickering among the political parties. The CC is headed by the prime minister and includes the leader of the main opposition party, the chief justice, the speaker of the lower house and chairperson of the national assembly and the deputy speaker. 

The five-member NRFC envisioned in Article 250 of the constitution will determine the formula and modality for the distribution of revenue to the provinces and local units and also work out parameters for the sharing of royalties from the use of natural resources between the local level and provinces. 

It will also advise the government on settling disputes in this connection. The central government gets 50 percent of the royalties while the remaining 50 percent is allotted to the local level and provinces.

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