KATHMANDU, Feb 20: Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has chosen private banks instead of government-owned banks to pay about Rs 60 million monthly to the teachers and staffers of public schools in the metropolitan city.
Earlier, public school teachers and staffers were paid their salaries through the government-funded Rastriya Banijya Bank and Nepal Bank Limited. After federalism was enforced last year, the government started sending salaries and allowances of government employees to the local bodies which now pay the government employees.
The KMC decision taken on February 11 urged the teachers and staffers working in the community schools within KMC to open accounts at private banks Prabhu and NIC Asia where their monthly salaries and allowances would be deposited.
According to KMC, there are 91 community schools with some 175,000 students and 640 private schools with about 40,000 students in the metropolis. The total number of staffers including teaching and non-teaching staff at 91 public schools constitutes 1,911 employees, who receive Rs nearly 800 million in total as annual salaries and allowances.
The KMC sends other amounts such as development and administrative funds through the state funded banks including Rastriya Banijya Bank and Nepal Bank Limited. KMC officials do not have convincing answers for choosing private banks to pay salaries and allowances of public school teachers and staffers instead of continuing with the government-funded banks.
“The development and administrative funds are sent to the old bank accounts of the respective schools,” said Sita Ram Koirala, chief education officer at the KMC. “The monthly salaries of teachers and staffers will be deposited in new their accounts at the private banks,” he added.
The KMC has asked the teachers and staffers to open new accounts at Prabhu Bank and NIC Asia Bank and submit the bank accounts, provident fund number, citizen investment trust number and insurance number to the Education Department of the KMC. “The bank staffers will visit the schools to open their accounts so that the teaching-learning process at the school is not affected,” said the KMC decision made on February 11.
Koirala claimed that the decision was made as per the demands of the Nepal Teachers Union and trade unions of the schools. “We chose these two banks out of 20 applications from different banks,” he said. “Out of 20, the applications of seven banks were disqualified in the short-listing process,” he added.
According to sources at KMC, those 13 banks included state-funded Nepal Bank Limited and Rastriya Banijya Bank. “Prabhu Bank and NIC Asia bank obtained 100 marks in the bidding evaluation while Nepal Bank Limited and Rastriya Banijya Bank received only around 80 marks out of total 100 full marks,” said Koirala. “We evaluated the banks on the basis of interest rates, number of ATMs and insurance schemes,” he claimed.
KMC Spokesperson Ishwar Man Dangol said that the government banks did not deliver efficient services and the KMC came to the conclusion for choosing better option through an open competition among banks. “For example, we distributed social security funds to the people through state-funded Agriculture Development Bank but it did not distribute in time,” said Dangol. “Then we also started distributing social security funds through Prabhu Bank from late 2018,” he added.
Dangol further said that the decision to pay public school staffers through private banks will be implemented from the current month if the opening of bank accounts is completed within this month.
Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the Guardians Association Nepal, said that there is room to doubt over the decision of the civic body. “Why does it send salaries and allowances through private banks while development and administrative funds through government banks?” he wondered.
After local body elections, the KMC's various decisions including historical Rani Pokhari, Bag Durbar reconstruction, mobile distribution to elected representatives, staff promotion and foreign junkets fell into bitter controversies.