Politics will govern economic growth: Dr Mahat

Kathmandu, June 16:

While insecurity caused by the decade-long insurgency had adverse impact on growth rate during the last five years, any boost in economic growth in the near future will depend

on the course politics takes and the government’s ability to restore semblance of peace

and security.

Much will also depend on how far the ruling alliance can evolve consensus on enforcing investor-friendly policies, which alone can be expected to revive the economy that

has witnessed mere three per cent growth during the last five years.

“We have never seen any problem with economic factors. It’s the politics that created obstacles. The hydra of extortion and intimidation in business world is still having telling impact,” said Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, of the Nepali Congress (Democratic).

Dr Mahat, an economic and foreign policy wonk, said this while outlining the common agenda of the ruling alliance during the next fiscal year.

“The insurgency was the main reason for the dwindling growth rate. But with the nation firmly on the path of a new political order, the parties concerned must make it a point to create an environment which is free from fear and intimidation. That is a must,” Dr

Mahat further said by way of reinforcing the need to restore security to pave the way for

economic growth.

Dr Mahat is of the view that given total return to peace and security, there is no reason why the economy should not start growing by six per cent by the next three years. But he added that alarming developments like the Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP) deadlock should not be the order of the day if “we are to expect to kick-start the economy.”

Moreover, he is of the view that next few years could see a return to tidy growth rate if the ruling alliance makes it a point to stick to the basic minimum economic programme agreed upon by the coalition.

With banks and financial institutions awash with idle deposits so far, necessary investment stands guaranteed.

“We have evolved a basic minimum economic programme which will guide the government well into the next fiscal year. What we need next is complete return to normalcy. This can attract investors into tourism, agriculture and water resources. That incidentally will pave the way for bigger growth rate over time,” Dr Mahat further said.