Lawmakers seek amendments in SEZ Bill

Published On: July 4, 2016 01:20 AM NPT By: Sujan Dhungana

Want a provision to ban protest, strikes in SEZ, among others, inserted
KATHMANDU, July 4:Lawmakers have registered a proposal to incorporate a provision in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill for putting a ban on protests and strikes in industries operating in SEZ.

The provision was earlier removed from the Bill due to political pressure.

Though the preliminary draft of SEZ Bill had clearly stated that activities of protest and strikes will be banned in SEZ, the government had removed the provision due to pressure from different trade unions including the one affiliated to the Mohan Baidya-led Communist Party of Nepal Communist Party of Nepal Revolutionary Maoist (CPNRM).

Clause 43 of the draft SEZ Bill endorsed by the cabinet in February last year states that 'Employees of industries within SEZ are refrained from carrying out activities that adversely affect the industry and its production.'

“A proposal has been filed to revise three provisions in the draft including Clause 43,” Chandika Prasad Bhatta, director of SEZ Development Committee, told Republica. “The draft bill will be tabled in parliament for approval after holding needful discussions in the Bills Committee.”

In the amendment proposal, lawmakers have also proposed including a representative of Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) in SEZ Management Team.

Clause 19 of the SEZ Bill envisages forming a 19-member management team with representations from different government agencies and the private sector.

The lawmakers have also proposed including a provision in Clause 9 of SEZ Bill which states that industries operating in SEZ can apply for renewal within 35 days of the end of their leasing period. They have proposed giving additional 15 days for renewal by paying certain fine.

As per Clause 19 of SEZ Bill, industries can lease land in SEZ for a maximum of 30 years depending on the nature and type of industries.

Bhisma Raj Aangdambe, chairman of the parliamentary committee on Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Protection said that the committee's meeting held on Sunday has begun discussion on the draft bill prepared to establish, run and manage SEZ.

SEZ is a separate space provided by the government to industries for smooth industrial operation as guided by the SEZ Act.  

The government is working to set up 14 SEZs in different parts of the country. While Bhairahawa ZEZ has already been inaugurated, SEZ Development Committee's director Bhatta informed that work is underway open SEZ in Paachkhal of Kavre, Simara of Bara and in Jumla.

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