Mahat bags Best Finance Minister Award

Kathmandu, January 4

Former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat has bagged the Global and Asia-Pacific Finance Minister of the Year 2016 Award.

The award was extended by The Banker, a premier monthly magazine on global finance published by the renowned Financial Times Group of the UK, for his exemplary work in the aftermath of the disastrous earthquakes that hit Nepal in April and May, and pushing for reforms to improve governance in the country’s Ministry of Finance, states an article published in The Banker.

Talking to THT today, Mahat said, “I am humbled by the recognition and honour accorded to me. The credit for this goes to the whole team of the finance ministry and officials of the National Planning Commission and other ministries and agencies.”

Mahat, who has been Nepal’s finance minister six times, was the first Nepali government official to interact with the international community after the earthquake of April 25.

He took a last-minute trip to the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, to raise awareness among his peers and the media.

His participation in the ADB annual meeting, according to the magazine, laid the groundwork for the June 25 International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction.

“The leadership that he showed in convincing the international community to hold the conference in Nepal was commendable, as many were skeptic about the government’s ability to host a mega event at that time.

The conference helped the country secure funding pledges of over $4 billion from the international community, which lifted the sagging confidence of the government as well as people,” said Swarnim Wagle, senior economist and former NPC member.

Mahat’s efforts in planning a Post Disaster Needs Assessment to gauge the earthquake’s damage and Nepal’s needs — estimated at more than $6 billion were also key, adds The Banker. The process required several hundred staff and was completed in just one month.

On a brighter note, Nepal’s finances and macroeconomy have remained sturdy despite natural calamities and uprisings in the southern part of the country, notes The Banker, adding, “Among Mahat’s many reforms, pushing for more efficient government spending stands out.”