Promises not enough, Maoists told

Kathmandu, April 17:

Maoist commitments yesterday to follow a capitalistic and market-based economic model seem to have done little to win Nepali business community’s confidence. The business leaders appear ready to give the ex-rebels the benefit of doubt, but say making promises alone are not enough.

“There must not be any deviation in words and action,” said Kush Kumar Joshi, president of the FNCCI.

“A big challenge for the Maoists is how the policies are implemented.”

Maoist promises are a laudable step in the context of globalisation as well as integration of smaller economies like Nepal into the global level, said Joshi.

He said the assurances for investment-friendly environment, maximisation of profit, guarantee for industrial security, tax reform, new flexible labour law and industrial policy are positive steps for the time being.

“The core point is the implementation. A real testimony will be seen on how do they implement the promises and benefit the country and its people,” Joshi said.

However, the Maoist promises have helped to clear fears and confusion in the private sector. “Yesterday’s announcement has helped allay fears and confusion in the private sector

to some extent,” said Padma Jyoti, former president of the FNCCI.

“It should be now followed by sector-wise agenda and priorities as well as ways to implement them that would be in the interest of people and the country,” Jyoti added.

“Change in behaviour from top leadership to the grassroots cadres is a must on the part of the Maoists, while lack of discipline everywhere must end to ensure a minimum level of change in the country,” he said, adding that composition of a new government would also determine the future course.

The Maoist announcement after a landslide victory for them in the CA election has been able to convey a positive message, said Dr Shanker Sharma, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission.

“Though there is not much difference in policy issues, the Maoists have joined a new foray of creating a base for capitalism, which is a significant move,” he added.

He argued that a double-digit growth is not possible with the current state of working environment, delivery mechanism and bureaucracy but a GDP growth of up to 8 to 9 per cent could be attained if investment flow increases rapidly in the sectors like hydropower and tourism.

Suraj Vaidya, senior vice-president of the FNCCI, also stressed on the need to transform the words into action.

“The execution part has always been lagging or lacking in the past. If the trend continues, nothing great can be expected,” he said, adding that the strong challenge ahead is meeting high expectations of the people.

If the Maoists want to take the private sector into confidence, there must be flexibility in workforce and the establishment of a balanced linkage between wage and productivity with an utmost priority given to protect the interests of both the employers and the employees, he said.