Complications of having key entities under PMO being studied

Published On: April 22, 2018 06:27 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 22: The Office of the Prime Minister  is revisiting the relevent laws to avoid the complications that lie ahead in bringing key government entities, including some anti-corruption agencies, under the PMO, as part of efforts  by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to consolidate the powers of the head of the  executive branch. 

Soon after coming into office with a strong popular mandate, PM Oli  decided to bring some key offices, including the Department of Money Laundering Investigations, Department of Revenue Investigations and National Investigation Department, under his office. The  prime minister is also reportedly seeking the role of overseeing the I/NGOs through a revamp of the  Social Welfare Council, the body responsible for regulating the non-governmental organization sector. 

Howsever, there are some legal and administrative challenges in bringing such entities  formally under the PMO. Legal experts are studying the legal complications involved while administrative experts are studying the organizational and management aspects.

“PMO is studying  how to make  these offices more effective under the new operational modality and an organizational and management survey is underway,” said Binod Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson at the PMO. “Meanwhile, government secretaries with legal backgrounds are studying whether there are any legal complications that need to be addressed,” he added.

A team of legal experts led by the PMO's legal secretary, Dilliraj Ghimire, is studying the legal ramifications.  Officials at the PMO hope both the O&M survey and  legal review will be complete within a week.  

Previously, some quasi-judicial organizations have  functioned  under the Ministry of Finance as has the National Investigation Department (NID)  under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Some of the organizations being brought under the PMO have started adjusting their organizational structure with a  view to strengthening their  capabilities. 

NID, for example,  has proposed  expanding its strength and naming an inspector general of investigations in lieu of the existing NID chief. It is also creating additional positions among  the rank and file. 

Following the decision to bring these crucial entities under the PMO, their respective chiefs have started to brief Kedar Bahadur Adhikar, the nodal secretary at the PMO.

Sources close to the prime minister say he wants to appoint one of his trusted men as minister without portfolio to oversee all the entities being brought directly under his office. 
But the increase in the number of cabinet ministers to accommodate dissident groups within his own party and  within junior coalition partner Maoist Centre  has put the prime minister in a fix. The constitution has limited the  number of ministers allowed in the cabinet. 

“PM was for assigning a dedicated minister to look after the PMO. But things have not progressed as discussed” said Chetan Adhikari, PM Oli's coordinator. 

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