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Economic transformation or daylight loot?

By PR Pradhan

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Prime minister in waiting KP Sharma Oli and Maoist supremo Pushpakamal Dahal “Prachanda” and other leaders from UML and Maoist Center are expressing commitment for economic transformation after formation of a stable Left alliance government. They have been expressing commitment for transforming Nepal as a developing nation within five years and ruling the nation for at least the next fifty years. They are even talking about unification of the two communist parties since they have been encouraged from the result that they received after developing election alliance between UML and Moist Center.
Economic transformation is not impossible if the political leaders become accountable, transparent and introduce good governance. Unfortunately, if watch the faces of those leaders who are talking about economic transformation, they are heavily involved in corruption and commissions. Should we believe that overnight they have changed their old habits? Should we believe that they have become very clean now?
For economic transformation, infrastructural investment is essential. We have introduced such an expensive system that the nation has to manage expenditure of seven provinces including salaries and allowances of the people’s representatives of 754 local governments, and staffers needed for the local bodies. Furthermore, we have to feed these elected members of the provincial parliaments and House of Representatives – in total 884 representatives and we have to feed not less than 110 provincial and minimum 25 federal cabinet members.
The Finance Ministry is facing trouble in managing funds for the province management. The Ministry is trying to manage funds by taking loans from the international community. The Rastra Bank has issued bonds for the public to manage the deficit fund to manage increase expenditure in political sector. If we spend foreign aids and we take loan to feed our representatives, obviously, we will have less budget to spend on infrastructural development. In this way, we are going to be more depended upon foreign aid.
We saw the election trend in Nepal and even the Election Commission and other intellectuals were worried from the money spent by the candidates to influence the voters. In average, one candidate contesting election to the member of the House of Representatives has spent minimum 50 million rupees to ensure his or her victory. The candidates spent money with the hope that he can refund the money once he is elected to the post of House of Representatives. Therefore, the first job of such candidates will be to make money by exploiting his position either he will be the member of HoR or minister. In this way, corruption will be the first priority. In other words, the political parties have institutionalized corruption. We have already experienced that the candidates for the proportional election had paid huge amounts of money to the political parties just to become members of the HoR. Even the ambassadorial candidates have to provide commission for the political parties in the government to become an ambassador. These are open secrets. There will be transaction of millions of rupees in promotion of the officers of the Nepal Police and Armed Police. The established trend is that even in civil service, no post is given free of cost.
If Commission for Investigation on Abuse of Authority (CIAA) opens files of “big fishes”, the leaders who have won the election, will be under the CIAA net. Understandably, CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki had to face impeachment motion when he had dared to open corruption files of those “big fishes”. All the parties in the parliament became united against Karki and registered the impeachment motion against Karki after they received the information that their files were going to be opened.
If we glance upon our economy, we are solely reliant upon the remittance income and we are facing sharp loss in our foreign trade. According to a recent report, in the first four months of the current fiscal year, the country has faced loss worth 310 billion rupees. If such a trend will continue, in one year, the loss will mount to 930 billion rupees. We don’t have immediate measures to reduce such loss overnight.
Without cleaning the existing system, it is a great challenge for the government to transform the nation.

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