Nepal’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) of Nepal has disbanded the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Sector Policy Advisory Group, the Himalayan News Service reports. The panel was put together in January this year to conduct a review and submit comprehensive policy guidelines for the Kingdom’s telecoms and broadcasting sectors. Details are sketchy, but one official within the MoIC is quoted as saying the decision to dissolve the advisory board is shrouded in mystery. ‘The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee [PAC] had directed the government to formulate a clear policy to regulate the telecom sector,’ he said. ‘There must be some ill intention behind this decision.’
Some parts of government are being accused of getting rid of the advisory panel in order to further their own political interests and even to make ‘a quick buck’. It is alleged that certain factions are trying to further a plan to grant permission to rural telecom service providers to operate in Nepal’s urban areas. ‘The ministry dissolved the group after it thought it will be impossible to fulfil its motives through the incumbent advisory group,’ the official is quoted as saying.
A report published by the PAC is also highly critical of the MoIC’s performance to date, suggesting it has presided over an ‘inconsistent’ policy that has resulted in a confused legislative environment for telecoms services. The report reads: ‘There is no consistency, uniformity and scientific base in the definition of telecom services’. The government committee also alleges that the ministry has failed to define even basic communications services clearly, including those for GSM mobile, limited mobility, rural service provision and international trunk call services ‘in a reliable way’.