It’s time to take stock of economy: Experts

Gopal Tiwari

Kathmandu, January 2:

Finally, time has come to review the economy, as liberalisation has not been able to render as we have hoped. The economic fallacies need to be wiped to be compatible and competitive with the global market trends.

Economists and experts have called for reviewing economic sectors and expedite research on various sectors to keep economy afloat. Following Nepal’s accession to World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a liberalised country, the global market trend is very ‘challenging’. In such a scenario, Nepal has to revisit its ‘business, economy policies and programmes’ at the earliest possible, experts suggested. Dr P K Joshi, who is involved with South Asia Initiative (SAI), in an attempt to carry out various research and studies on the issues in different countries, stressed on intensifying its research on agriculture, food security and poverty.

If Nepal could find effective areas for research, International Food for Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) can assist, Dr Joshi, who was in the country recently for a consultation meeting with ‘economists and intellectuals’, told The Himalayan Times. Joshi said that as South Asia generates less than two per cent of world income, it supports 22 per cent of the global population, and is the home for 44 per cent of the world’s poor who earns less than a dollar a day. “Mostly, South Asian poor are dependent on agriculture for their survival,” according to SAI’s study. It states that sixty per cent of the South Asian labour force is still involved in agriculture, and agriculture contributes about 25 per cent to GDP.

Prof Bishwambher Pyakuryal, who is an international consultant, also stressed on the need to review our economic sectors, particularly, as Nepal stands at crossroads even after liberalisation. Prof Pyakuryal, president of Nepal Economic Association (NEA), added, “as agriculture sector is a crucial component for South Asian economies. Time is running out to ‘review and strengthen’ our diversification in the sector with effective coordination between farms, firms and consumers.” “Liberalisation has brought many ‘challenges and threats’ to Nepal, therefore, its effective overhauling through experts’ inputs that may inter-connect with existing economic policies coupled with strengthening research is the must,” he opined.

Prof Bhuwan Bajracharya, a development economist, also suggested to make the role of the government strong and strengthen in the context of globalisation. “Economic sector needs reviewing by further regulating our existing system for making reforming more productive,” said Bajracharya. Institutional frameworks and reforms need to be defined and refined, he said adding, “Public debate and detail reviewing of economy needs to be started immediately. He said that after liberalisation, economic sectors do not seem to be moving ahead; therefore, reform is indispensable with effective research and studies identifying potential economic agents.

However, the trade and manufacture sector is the most vulnerable due to weak infrastructure.

Pradeep K Shrestha, former president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) also said that in the context of free market economy, Nepal should not be isolated. He suggested boosting private sector with friendly policies. “Existing policies need a through review to make them compatible,” he said.