MoFALD, FinMin consult over resource-sharing

October 22, 2017

Tika R Pradhan, The Kathmandu Post, 22 Oct 2017

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) is in consultation with the Finance Ministry over distribution of resources at the local levels.

The decision of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality to charge Rs 2,000 from every tourist entering its territory has become an eye opener for the government on distribution of resources. The local level has started charging the tourists from October 1 despite MoFALD request to wait until a law pertaining to the issue is enacted.

After receiving complaints from different sections of the society, especially from the tourism sector, MoFALD sent a letter on Tuesday, seeking Finance Ministry’s opinion on the matter.

MoFALD Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya said the Local Governance Act has stated that the province can determine the rate of such fees and local levels can collect which could be distributed among the two governments but the Inter-governmental Finance Management Act has not made the distribution of collecting resources clear.

Government authorities fear of anarchy if all the local levels start follow the suit as the Changu Narayan Municipality has also started charging tourists visiting Nagarkot from September 17.

Not only the rural municipality has decided to charge the tourists but also refused to accept the charges being collected by the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) and the Nepal Mountaineering Association. 

NMA Treasurer Sudarshan Neupane said the association had requested the government to resolve the issue immediately. “Tourism sector would be devastated if such incidents continue,” he said.

The NMA collects $125 per summiteer, of which 20 percent would be spent on local development, 10 percent on environment protection and 5 percent on rescue works. There are 13 local councils around Annapurna Circuit--one of the best trekking destinations. “If each of them starts charging Rs2,000 from each trekker it would have a detrimental effect on Nepal’s tourism,” warned Neupane.


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