Kathmandu, November 25:

National Planning Commission (NPC), the government think-tank headed by the Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, is all set to revise economic policies in a changed political context.

After the signing of peace agreement between the government and CPN (Maoists), the planning commission is working out to revise its ‘trade and investment’ policies that was formulated in 1992. These policies were formulated in boosting free market economy.

The revision is being made in consultation with all stakeholders such as business sector, economists and civil society representatives to make them functional to increase private sector’s competitiveness, disclosed Dr Posh Raj Pandey, member of the NPC, while talking exclusively with The Himalayan Times.

“Private sector has to be competitive in a changed ‘global and local’ context, therefore, we are making some revisions in ‘trade and investment policies’ for better environment in doing business,” said Dr Pandey.

Prithvi Raj Ligal, former vice-chairman of the NPC also stressed for a revision in the existing economic policies in the context of Nepal being a member of World Trade Organisation (WTO), the increasing importance of IT sector and capitalising hydropower potentials.

He said that the 1992 economic policy focused more on removing ‘Licence Raj’.

“However, today market seems to be changing very fast that necessitated timely revisions in our economic policies. Would-be revised economic policies should create sound market environment and explore opportunities for sustainable economy,” Ligal argued.

Economists commented that while revising economic policies, ‘integrated approach’ is necessary. Sri Ram Raj Pandey, assistant resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), categorically stated that we could not achieve desired economic development from existing economic policies, therefore, we should revise the policies by adopting ‘integrated programmatic approach’ that should not go in a scattered way.

The new economic policies should incorporate MDGs, as it solely targets the poor and disadvantaged sections of people and to boost human development, said Pandey, a development expert.

Economists opined that along with policy revisions, resources needed to be generated.

“If we need more money, we need to lobby with donors to meet the resource gap,” Pandey suggested adding that institutions needed to be more vibrant for better service delivery and increase the access of the poor to resources.

“Effective implementation is the key,” he added.

“During the political process, development process should not be disturbed,” said NPC member Dr Pandey.

At the same time, he said that NPC is also re-orienting the strategy for development projects, which are categorised in three groups: P1, P2 and P3. The selection criteria for each category would be revised by giving new dimensions in the context of making ‘New Nepal’, he said.

“Policies as to trade and investment are being revised to develop linkages from one policy to other. NPC has categorised 260 projects in P1, 116 in P2 and 27 in P3.”

UN development expert Pandey expressed the views that while making policies, rural, industrial and trade-related issues should go together if we want to see sound and sustainable development.

He said that the new policies should aim for economic expansion and exploring opportunities, as we know that without sustainable development, peace will not be sustainable.

“Similarly, ‘bottom-up approach’ is needed and people be mobilised at the community level that,” Pandey hoped, “would ultimately bring expected development results.”