DR. ASHOK SHUMSHERE JBR
History has it that the earlier constitutions of Nepal were promulgated through various ways—they were conferred or gifted through royal proclamations. At times constitutions were prepared by a group of experts with little direct involvement of the people. The 1990 constitution, although seen as a bit of an exception, has been perceived as not being able to fully carry the expected aspirations of the people.
The Nepalese people never had the opportunity of drafting their own constitution as they were designed by a select few and conventional power authority. It is strongly believed that the recently dwindled Constitution Assembly could have been utilized for the long anticipated political, economic and social transformation of the Nepalese society. The new constitution was formulated on the hopes and aspirations of the Nepalese people allowing them to raise their concern from every nook and corner of the country. For people who had been patiently awaiting Nepal’s political development, the abrupt death of the Constituent Assembly was shockingly rude. The Constituent Assembly was dissolved on May 27th after four years which came as a bolt from the blue to the people after it failed in its major task for which it was formed—drafting of a new constitution. Three months after the dissolution of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly, the country is totally befuddled in seeking a new way out to bring the political parties together in burying their hatchet and settling the conflicting issues.
Nepal plunged deeper into political stalemate, when the Constituent Assembly collapsed in its ability to address the controversial issue of federalism and crossed the fourth deadline since the establishment of the Constituent Assembly in 2008. This vacuum has led the country into deeper economic predicament apart from political aspect forcing disincentive effect in creating investment friendly environment.
The country is passing through a phase of never receding in the rate of current expenditures to a high of three fourths of the total expenditure, and, on the other hand, capital expenditure that would not have only created employment opportunities but also would have brought about an optimistic syndrome of development in the economy which is also lagging behind from the problem of obstruction and sluggish implementation.
This has resulted in sharp corrosion in the Government’s capacity to spend properly. The electricity tariff is increasing and prices of petroleum products are soaring up. Neither the Government has been able to create employment opportunities nor has it been able to spend fully on development activities. On the other hand, the Government has not been able to curb inflation on basic necessities and give relief to the people. The increase in load shedding hours and price hike in petroleum products have increased the cost of operation of the industries and transportation ensuing in multiplier effect on the economy. This has further impoverished the people when their buying capacity had remained agonizingly stagnant.
Under these critical circumstances where growth rate has retarded, inflation is galloping, stock exchange diminishing, export to import ratio index is deplorable, trade deficit is intensely widening and the most worrying part is that capital expenditure is shrinking to its utmost point. To get rid of from this economic quagmire the urgent task at hand is to give some relief to the people which are:
The increasing hour of load shedding should be curtailed. This is to be done by negotiating with the Indian counterpart for more supply of electricity from the border side. In addition to these leakages must be controlled. All the sources of potential energy in a country such as alternate power production, restoration of unused thermal power should be addressed. Use of renewable energy should be aggressively pursued and facilitated by the Government to the maximum degree.
The big high portion of cost incurred to meet the import of petroleum products should be rationalized as the direct beneficiary of such products constitutes a very small portion of the population. In this process, the public should fully co-operate.
The agricultural sector has to be prioritized significantly in order to fully engage seventy plus portion of the total population.
The taxes should be lowered at this point of time in all sectors of trade and commerce to provide entrepreneurial incentive. .
The Government has to inject more capital expenditure to create employment opportunity in the domestic market, however, it must be ensured that the allocated capital expenditure is fully and correctly implemented under the rules of good governances.
The Government has to take drastic measures to curtail inflation causes of which are hoarding, black-marketing and carteling in the market.
The current anomalies seen in the industrialized sector should be stabilized immediately, thereby, restoring confidence in
the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).