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What has gone wrong with our economy?

By Prajwal Shrestha
The other day, Energy Minister Janardan Sharma revealed that he had wanted to do many things but he didn’t find an environment to work in. He recalled that he had to fight with the gang who were cheating the consumers by showing acute shortage of electricity. In spite of such an abnormal situation, Sharma conquered the war to end load-shedding from the country. Nevertheless, he managed to import power from India and thus he became successful to end years long load-shedding in the country. Sharma himself is in the executive post and he is complaining that the traditional laws and regulations are the major obstacles to work. If there is such a problem, why not he take initiatives to scrap such laws and regulations? From the neighbouring countries — India and China, we can learn a lot. If our laws and regulations are creating hurdles, why not we scrap them andadopt laws and regulations introduced by the neighbouring countries?
The commercial banks are facing liquidity crunch. One of the major reasons for liquidity crunch is the government’s inefficiency in spending the development fund. In the six months of the new fiscal year, the government has been able to spend only 11 percent of the budget allotted for development projects. When the government was unable to spend the fund it has collected through VAT and excise duties, customs and other sources of revenue. Thus the stock of cash in the government treasury has been increased whereas there is liquidity crunch in the market. The government is solely responsible for being unable to spend the development funds. When the ministers themselves are eyeing on commission and corruption, this economic disease is sure to be prolonged. Since the introduction of the multiparty democracy in 1989, we have been experiencing that the level of corruption has been in an increasing trend and this is the major obstacle for the political system as well. Multiparty democracy in itself is a good political system, but to make better this system, commission and corruption have to be curbed.
The mechanism of “reward and punishment” has to be introduced so that those officials, who are efficient and capable in workshould be rewarded whereas those officials who are lingering and delaying to complete development works have to be punished. We can see many development projects have been delayed. Even the projects of national glory have been delayed. Why projects are delayed, the leaders in the government should try to find out and immediately take actionif needed be. The ADB and World Bank have blamed the government that frequently changes project managers in the development projects and also political intervention are the reasons for delay in the development projects. If the present political system will continue, there is no chance in formation of a stable government. Always, there will be a coalition government and in every nine months the governmentis likely to be changed. In such a way, if the every new government will try to assign those officers close to the party or those officers who pay attractive money only, the project works will suffer badly. This is the main reason for delayed project works. We see political leaders are always fighting for getting lucrative ministries. It is because they have become minister not to serve the nation and the people but to earn money. Unless the ministers will not remove such a mindset, we cannot improve our economy.Recently, Nepal hosted the Investment Summit. There are many hurdles for the foreign investors to come in Nepal. Without removing hurdles in our economic field, we cannot attract foreign investment as expected. First of all, Nepal is a corrupt country. Labour force is heavily politicized and always they are creating trouble for the investors. To attract foreign investment, first of all, we should develop an investment friendly environment by reducing the level of corruption and by discouraging labour unions which are directly under the reach of the political leaders. The political leaders have made the labour unions as money making machines for their concerned parties. The leaders should commit to end such a practice and the leaders should also express the commitment that they are to reduce the level of corruption. These are the primary but vital things to be done by the leaders in the government. The next thing is that the government should not assign an officer on the basis of how much money he is going to pay to the minister but he should be assigned on the basis of his work and efficiency. In other words, political intervention has to be ended and the leaders should have the vision for economic prosperity and national development. If the leaders become honest, we have no problem to achieve economic goals.

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