Govt to bring in fiscal revolution

Kathmandu, August 31:

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda said Maoist-led government was committed to an economic revolution along with the logical end to the peace process and drafting the constitution.

“We have three major tasks; logical conclusion of peace process, writing a new constitution and ushering in economic progress in accordance with rising people’s aspirations,” he said inaugurating Economic Summit-2008 organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) here in Kathmandu today. The three-day long summit sought a commitment for Rs 12,000 monthly income of Nepalis.

“An economic revolution is the key to strengthening the political revolution. Without the economic revolution, a country cannot be politically stable,” the Prime Minister said, adding that Nepal has to keep pace with the changing times. “In the 21st century, no country could live in isolation and we will not ride against the tide but are more focused on our national priority.”

He also sought private-public partnership as well as more investment by domestic as well as international investors for greater employment opportunities.

President of the CNI and Constituent Assembly member Binod Chaudhary welcoming the guests said political ideologies have nothing to do with development and economic growth as our neighbours, China and India with different ideology has become the economic powerhouse in the world. Despite China and India — the rising economic powers — are being our neighbours, Nepal could not even get even a minimum benefit.

“Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the bordering areas with India and China has to be developed to take benefit from the neighbouring markets,” he said, adding that industries

that are a key to growth are hit hard. It has only seven per cent contribution in the GDP. In the last decade, the industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP was at 25 per cent.

The supply system has badly hit and the rich poor gap has been increasing, Chaudhary said, adding that Nepal — an agriculture-based country — is at present facing food shortage, and widening urban and rural gap due to wrong policies that has hit the livelihood of most of the Nepalis dependent on agriculture.

“Thus a radical change in agriculture is needed with commercial approach and proper focus,” he said.

“A farmer has to pay 14 to 15 per cent interest rates whereas for a car one has to pay only six to seven per cent,” he complained, adding that only 25 per cent land is non-arable but

rest of the land is also not productive due to lack of irrigation, proper seeds and fertilisers.

He suggested the government to think like an entrepreneurs and effectively manage the resources. Apart from agriculture, hydropower and skilled manpower export are some of the sectors that need immediate attention for the change. Another sector is tourism that can change the face of Nepal.

But its marred by inadequate infrastructure, airports, the mismanagement of Nepal Airlines Corporation and regular strikes. Trade unionism, and law and order problems are

the major hurdles for the industrial sector, apart from lack of good governance and smooth service delivery, he said.

He also suggested to create economically viable and well-managed states instead of caste, creed and community-based ones.

J N Khanal, general secretary of CPN-UML stressed on land reforms and agriculture revolution that can change Nepal.