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Surya Bhakta Pokharel to be MD of Nepal Telecom

Surya Bhakta Pokharel is known to be appointed as the “For Managing director” of Nepal Telecom, according to the company rules to select the senior most Deputy Managing Director to lead as the FOR MD in case of vacant position. As the two years tenure of Mr. Buddhi Prasad Acharya as Managing Director has finished today, Administration is known to give a letter to him for assuming the position of “For Managing director” in the No.1 company owned by Government. It is still unclear whether Ministry of information and communication or company administration or Board head (MOIC secretary) is giving him the letter with the complete authorityMD of Nepal Telecom for the position. Though the process for the selection of MD from open competition was begun from the previous Ministry of information and communication (from Oli Led Government), the letter is being given to Mr. Pokharel being the senior most DMD (Deputy Managing Director) of the company. Citing the lack of time for the evaluation of the 13 candidates who have applied for the position and the discontent heard for the previous process, the company board having the right to decide on the key issues of the 92 percent share owned by the Government, could not decide on the process.

Mr. Surya Bhakta Pokharel is a charter accountant by profession and is the CFO ( Chief Financial officer) of the company. He was promoted to Deputy Managing director position, two and half years back. He is also the youngest one to assume the chief of the company. He had also worked as a company secretary of the company.

Previously all of the Managing directors used to be from technical background, Engineers to be specific. There was a huge protest by the technical group during the appointment of CA Mr. Buddhi Prasad Acharya as the MD, exactly two years back, which later paved the way for making a criteria for the Managing Director of the company and several other key decisions. A committee led by Mr. Tirtha Man shakya (Ex Chief of Public Service commission a.k.a. Lok Sewa Ayog in Nepali) gave a report for the Terms of reference (TOR) for the MD of Nepal Telecom. Instead of following the committee report, the two governments namely Sushil Koirala Led Government and KP Oli led government had changed the TOR and generalized the qualifications of Masters Degree. KP OLi led government also opened it to any personnel of 15 years of experience in telecom sector or government owned or semi-government organization, also personnel with at least 5 years of experience in 8th level was also made eligible.  Based on that TOR, 13 applicants (nine from the company itself and 4 from outside) have applied for the vacancy announced by the government. The MD selection committee led by MOIC secretary Mr. Dinesh Thapaliya were evaluating the application which was to short list six candidates first and then recommend three to the cabinet.  Ultimately cabinet was to select one among the three recommended.

As the government has changed and now it is in the hand of current Minister of Information and Communication Mr. Surendra Kumar (Ram) Karki, they are to decide whether to select among the 13 applicants or start a fresh process by changing the TOR as there are several discontent heard about it.  They have to decide on the selection process soon as running the company by a temporary MD will have long term effect in the company’s health. Since”For MD” could not and may not decide on the major issues in the company. If the current government changes the TOR, it will look quite strange as all of the three major parties government will have made changes to the TOR to select the MD in the largest company owned by the government.

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