KATHMANDU – Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said the government considers the sale of Ncell shares as unusual.
Speaking at a meeting of the House of Representative’s State Affairs and Good Governance Committee today, the Prime Minister said the government formed the Committee to probe the Ncell share sale issue, viewing the sale procedure amiss.
The government sensed something wrong in the procedures and further steps will be based on the recommendations of the Study and Investigation Committee, he said, promising to implement additional measures in the regulations of telecommunications service providers, to create more favourbale atmosphere for foreign investment, and to reform foreign currency exchange facility and tax administration.
He informed the Committee that the government is committed to taking legal action if any violations are found in the matter. Emphasizing that the sensitivity of the issue extends beyond tax concerns, he said that any general shortcomings in attracting foreign investment could have significant costs for the nation.
“The government is aware of potential impacts of Ncell share sale issues on revenue collection, investment and the telecommunications development. That’s a five-member study and probe committee coordinated by former Attorney General Tankamani Sharma Dangal has been formed, “he said.
According to him, the Committee has been directed to minutely study the matter and to submit the report within 30 days of its formation. The Committee was formed by the Cabinet meeting on December 7 to investigate the matter about the sale of share of Ncell, the telecommunications service provider, based in Nepal.
The government head shared with the meeting about concerns expressed from various quarters after media reports that the 805 shares of Ncell Axiata were undervalued to evade tax during the sale.
Prime Minister Dahal clarified that he directed the Ministry of Communications and Informational technology and Nepal Telecommunication Authority to study about the Ncell share scam soon after returning home from COP28.
He briefed the meeting that the probe committee has been collecting documents and details as well as analyzing them coordinating with Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Office of the Company Registrar, Department of Industry, Nepal Rastra Bank, Department of Inland Revenue and taxpayer service office and Securities Board of Nepal.
PM Dahal shared that these regulatory bodies are collecting evidence and documents regarding the issues– foreign investment of Ncell, sale and purchase of share, tax, revenue, and foreign exchange remaining in their respective jurisdiction.
Similarly, Minister for Communications and Information technology, Rekha Sharma, mentioned that the Prime Minister and Communications Ministry enquired with the regulator bodies immediately soon after the news related to sale and purchase of Ncell share.
She added, “Discussion was held with bodies concerned on the issue whether or not permission was taken with regulatory body to sale and purchase shares of Ncell, whether or not the sale of the share is as per international norms and values, laws related to this and the cabinet formed the probe committee after that.”
Sharing that the government has been seriously making efforts to reach to the conclusion by carrying out study and holding discussion on the Ncell shares sale issue, Minister Sharma viewed that activities have been forwarded as per the direction to resolve the weaknesses and problems seen in this regard.