A series of new bills and amendments, ranging from public procurement, contribution-based social security to media council were tabled at the House of Representatives this year. Among the myriad of such laws, Samriddhi Foundation reviewed ten acts and bills and published policy briefs on them to elucidate direct and indirect impact such laws would have on the civil and economic freedom of Nepali citizens.
The government’s new Media Council Bill and Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Bill have given rise to fears that the government is curtailing civil liberties of Nepali citizens that have been enshrined in the Constitution. Our researcher Bidhyalaxmi Maharjan presented, in the Policy Brief, many ways the incumbent government is attempting to cut back on press freedom in Nepal. Similarly, the ICT Bill Policy Brief pointed out not just inadequate definitions of technical jargons, but also how it will impact freedom of expression of citizens.
Amongst the new laws, no law perhaps attracted as much attention and controversy as the Contribution-based Social Security Fund. Introduced with the aim to end the financial insecurity for the present and uncertainty for the future of private workers, the Act received a lukewarm response from private sector employees. Our researcher Ankshita Chaudhary dissected the Social Security Fund Act to elucidate provisions that account for reluctance of workers in participating in the Fund.
While keeping the economic interest of consumers in mind, the government also introduced Consumer Protection Act, 2075. However, in enacting such legislations, due regard must be given to ensuring that such policy does not become a barrier to private entrepreneurship. The Policy Brief shed light on provisions that could have repercussion on enterprising producers, and consequently, the growth of the economy.
Another law that became the center of much discussion and debate this year is the Motor Vehicles and Transport act of 2049. The Act regulates ride-sharing businesses such as, Tootle and Pathao. In the Ride-sharing Business Policy Brief, our researcher Yatindra K.C. analyzed restrictive provisions in the Act and recommended policy prescriptions to facilitate ridesharing business in Nepal.
Another piece of legislation that directly affects the growth of entrepreneurship is the Companies Bill. The new bill is an extensive 200 pages long legislation that entrepreneurs can hardly comprehend and comply with, in the absence of expertise in law. To find out more about other provisions those need to be reviewed, please refer to the Companies Bill Policy Brief.
While many blame a sluggish rate of capital expenditure for poor performance of the economy, it is worth looking at Public Procurement Act, 2063. Our researcher Ayushma Maharjan reviewed the legal provisions of the Act in the Policy Brief and recommended possible way outs to ensure development works take pace in the country.
The growth of Nepali economy is directly tied to the industrial landscape. In a bid to create a conducive environment for industries and investors, the Industrial Enterprise Act was amended. Despite numerous admirable qualities, the Policy Brief points out some shortcomings that should be amended in the Act.
With the advent of federalism in Nepal, sub-national governments have been empowered to execute their own finances, including retrieving loans. The government has aptly rolled out Public Debt Management Bill to address such new reality. However, there are some provisions in the Bill that require reconsiderations. Please read the Policy Brief prepared by our researcher Prience Shrestha to learn more.
In appraising the new Land Use Act, our researchers applauded the government’s initiative to regulate land use in Nepal, however, they caution us of implications of the Act in the future. You can find out more in the Policy Brief.
Samriddhi will continue to keep watch on new acts and laws in the future. Please sign up for our newsletter to stay updated.