By Prajwal Shrestha
A section of so-called intellectuals, former senior civil servants have launched a campaign against the mobile and internet service provider Ncell, a joint-venture foreign investment. They are defaming the Ncell on the issue of not paying the revenue on transaction of its shares. The fact is that the government authorities had assured that as the deal was made in foreign country, the concerned party, which sold its 80 percent of the shares to a new company, is not responsible for paying the revenue. When the deal was done and the first party had already left the country by handing over the management to the new shareholder, at this juncture, the political leaders, government authorities and those who are campaigning against Ncell, are defaming the Ncell company. Sure, the government authorities as well as some leaders in the government had planned to enjoy the revenue by exploiting the nation. When the plan failed, now, the concerned sectors are saying that Ncell should pay the revenue. Be clear, not the Ncell but the previous management which was holding 80 percent of the shares had to pay the revenue. If that company denies to pay the tax, the government should seek diplomatic channels to collect the tax from that company.
Meanwhile, the new management had announced to invest millions worth money to upgrade Ncell service, which has also been kept pending for the time being on the issue of the previous tax dispute. Furthermore, some unidentified groups have destroyed Ncell towers in different districts. The CPN Maoist led by Netrabikram Chand has claimed for destruction of the Ncell towers. Be that as it may, these incidents are intended to discourage Ncell management and return from Nepal. Surely, Ncell was the No 1 company in a very short period of time. The other rival companies were not happy from the capturing of the market solely by Ncell. Therefore, under their influence, the plan to defame Ncell could have been developed. They might have seen their petty interests but look at the global market! Will the new investors come to Nepal if such a conspiracy is created against foreign investment? The Nepal government’s present decision and other acts against Ncell give the clear message that there is no environment for foreign investments in Nepal. The question is that can Nepal be transformed as a developed nation without foreign investment?
Obviously, as per the rules and regulations of the country, the foreign investors have to pay taxes and other duties. There are many ways to collect the taxes and duties. The concerned authorities instead of media propaganda, could have written a letter to the concerned party and if the concerned party is not satisfied, it could go to the court. Instead of taking the proper course, the media is creating propaganda that Ncell has tried to escape tax, which is not right.
It is said that some brokers, who had good relations with Prime Minister KP Oli, were active in lobbying for escaping tax from the first party which had disposed its shares to the new management. The government officials, in the interest of commission, assured the first party that it should not pay such revenue or taxes. When the new management took-over the Ncell, then only, they are saying that Ncell should pay the tax as they don’t know other parties except from the Ncell company, which is very much surprising.
Be that as it may, a wrong message has been decimated in the global market, which may affect foreign investment in this country.
Discouraging foreign investment
By Prajwal Shrestha