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How is our “loktantrik” economy?

By Prajwal Shrestha
As bank reserve has started to decline, the commercial banks have started to incline interest rates in saving deposits. From two percent in normal saving, the banks have started to give 11 to 12 percent in fixed deposits to attract the depositors. Such a trend will take place when the banks start to feel liquidity crunch in the market. There are several reasons for liquidity crunch. One among the reasons is that the government’s incapability of spending money. The government collects tax from locals and spends the tax amount collected from the people for different projects through the budget. In this way, the cash will be rotated in the market. If the government fails to spend that collected amount, at that case, there will be scarcity of cash in the market. In the first quarter of the new fiscal year, the government has been able to spend only 9 percent of the development budget set for the present fiscal year. There is no abnormal situation in the country, even though the government has failed to spend the budget amount.
Due to lack of responsibility among the political leaders and civil servants, they are not doing their job properly. The other trend is that the political leaders in the government and the bureaucrats will remain sleeping for eleven months and they will start working in the 12th month just to finish the government’s budget. That is why, in Asar (July), we can see construction/maintenance works taking place everywhere. It is because, if the budget is not spent by Asar, the budget will freeze. Working at the last hours is just for sharing commission from the project works. Always, we see delayed in the project works as we have very traditional formalities in bidding tenders. We don’t have a mechanism of rewarding those bureaucrats who are doing good job and giving punishment to those who are not doing their job. We don’t have proper mechanism for controlling corruption. If somebody will not win the bid, he can send a complaint letter to the CIAA and immediately the CIAA will capture the file and the officers will have to face CIAA investigation. Even if an officer is working with a good intention, a single complaint letter registered at the CIAA anonymously will be enough for the CIAA to give trouble to the concerned officer. As such a practice has existed, officers want to avoid work. The commission percent has also been inclined as from the minister to the party workers will have a long queue to receive the commission. A minister is bound to collect commission even to run his party. These days, not only from the construction projects, but also during transfer of the civil servants, big commission deals are found to be taken place for the lucrative posts. Just last week, we saw smuggling of gold taking place from the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA). As there are above 50 different agencies deployed for the security of the TIA, smuggling is impossible without proper setting of the government agencies deployed over there. TIA is considered as a lucrative place to earn money. Civil servants and security officers have to pay a hefty amount in advance to the political leaders to get posting in the TIA. When they have spent hefty amount in advance, obviously, they want to make money from the new posting under the protection of the political leaders. In this way, the entire country has been indulged in corruption and commission business, therefore, TIA like sensitive place has become the smuggling center.
In the development projects also, the project chief will always be under the pressure of collecting commission for the concerned minister, political workers and the ruling party. But when investigation will be initiated on the charge of commission and corruption, the political leaders will escape and the concerned project chief and senior officers will become victim. Therefore, the project officers are not in a mood to work. This is the reason why the government is unable to spend the government budget on time.
Nepal is a small country having above 100 political parties. The political leaders have no side jobs except for making money through commission. Also, they have to run the party with the same source. In this regard, our political mechanism has ruined the country. Unless we stop political and bureaucratic level corruption and commission, we cannot improve our economy. It is said that none of the political leaders except for some exceptions, are clean. It is also said that the entire powers had gone against the CIAA chairman Lokman Singh Karki when he tried to catch “big fishes”. It is said that he was about to initiate the mission of catching big fishes and when his plan was leaked, overnight, the impeachment motion was registered against Singh in the Parliament. Many INGO agents also were against Singh as they were earning dollars from different countries and Singh had initiated investigation against such agents. Of course, we have been able to terminate Lokman Singh but can we curb rampant and institutionalized corruption and commission business existed in this “loktantra”?

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