Tension between PM and industry minister unfolds at investment summit

Published On: March 30, 2019 08:02 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 30: Growing differences between Prime Minister KP Oli and Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Matrika Yadav have been surfacing one after another even as the government is trying to bring in foreign investment in the country through the investment summit. 

Two weeks ago, Minister Yadav asked the parliament secretariat to withdraw the Bill to Amend and Integrate Industrial Enterprises Act a day after its registration at parliament, reportedly under pressure from the prime minister. 

“The Cabinet had revised some provisions in the bill to ease foreign investment in different sectors of the country, keeping in view the investment summit. But the minister was found to register an old draft of the bill without including the revised provisions,” said sources at the Prime Minister's Office. 

Due to differences between the executive head of the government and the minister, the government failed to endorse the bill before the investment summit along with few other bills pertaining to investment issues. 

The ministry sent different copies of the same bill for registration at the parliament secretariat on Friday incorporating the changes nearly a week after prorogation of the parliament session.

Parliament secretariat has put the second bill on hold after the ministry sent the new copy of the same bill without withdrawing the registration the previous one. “We have not decided whether to register the new copy of the bill because the ministry has not sent any official letter to withdraw the previous one,” said head of the bill section at the Parliament Secretariat, Netra Karki. 

The ministry had requested the secretariat not to distribute copies of the previous bill to lawmakers saying that some changes were needed in the bill. Parliament Secretariat officials have said that they are yet to go through the new bill for exploring the changes made. 

Minister Yadav who is known for his stubborn nature publicly rejected the token of love from the Investment Board Nepal in the inauguration session of the investment summit in Kathmandu. The minister also sat with journalists and media in the back row after finding that his seat was not arranged along with other fellow ministers in the front row in the session chaired by the prime minister. 

Minister Yadav had indicated his exit from the government last week speaking at a public function. Relation between Prime Minister Oli and Yadav further soured in September last year after the PM interfered and decided to fix 100 tons quota for sugar import restricting further import. Earlier the minister had also vented ire against the PM after the latter placed two secretaries at the ministry.  

In the first investment summit organized in 2017, the then Minister for Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi had played a key role in convening the event and was working as one of the line ministers for the international event.

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