NPI says concept paper on 15th five-year plan highly ambitious

Kathmandu, April 3

Amid the meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in the Capital to finalise the concept paper of the 15th five-year plan (fiscal years 2019-20 to 2023-24) prepared by the National Planning Commission (NPC), Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) — an international think tank — has said that a few targets of development set in the periodic plan are overambitious and unrealistic.

Moreover, NPI said that there is no explicit articulation of the external regional and global context and future scenarios in which the vision and plans are set.

“The projected income growth of $1,400 by fiscal year 2023-24, $4,100 by fiscal 2030-31 and $12,100 by fiscal 2042-43 seems rather overambitious or unrealistic to achieve given past performance, including poor capital investment and management,” NPI stated.

Despite the fact that the Nepali economy is so heavily dependent on remittance and foreign employment has become the mainstay of income and employment for millions of working age population along with remittance constituting one-third of the nation’s annual budget, the whole presentation of the vision and plan is conspicuously silent about migrant workers and remittance, reads the NPI comment paper on the draft of the 15th five-year plan.

“Given the double-digit high economic growth target, there is no explicit recognition or mitigation strategy for the high cost of high growth in terms of unsustainable exploitation and extraction of nature/natural resources, high degree of inequality in the society and deeper socio-political division and unrest,” said NPI, adding that the concept paper of the periodic plan does not reflect higher-level vision, plan or strategy for gender equality and increased economic participation and leadership of women.

Though Nepal has been suffering from economic dependency with alarming rise in imports of basic food commodities from India, the concept paper of the periodic plan has not emphasised this concern and no remedial mechanism specifically suggested.

“Goals and objectives are set at high levels and are generally without clear, programmes indicators or time lines,” NPI said.

Meanwhile, NPI has also suggested the government to give the 15th periodic plan the theme ‘Build, Produce and Manage.’