EDITORIAL: Landmark visit

The accords with China will greatly help Nepal diversify its trade and considerably reduce its economic vulnerabilities

Nepal and China have concluded historic agreements of far-reaching importance to Nepal on Monday, on the second day of his week-long visit to China, in the Great Hall of People in Beijing in the presence of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. The long-felt want of the Nepali people for a transit transport treaty with China, has been fulfilled now. China has also agreed to build the Xiarwa boundary river bridge, in Hilsa, Humla, which will remove the transport barrier between the Chinese border and Nepal’s remote Karnali region, extending a lifeline to the region’s economy. These, along with the other agreements and memorandums of understanding, and letters of exchange signed concluded on the occasion, will further widen and strengthen the bilateral relationship of mutual advantage, particularly helping the landlocked Nepal to diversify its trade, to strengthen cross-border connectivity, to expand Nepal’s development infrastructure, and to open a window of opportunity to promote Nepal’s prosperity. Some of the other documents signed relate to Chinese economic and technical assistance in implementing the Pokhara regional international airport project, which includes Chinese soft loan to finance the project, feasibility study on Chinese assistance in the exploration of oil and gas in Nepal as well as on the Nepal-China Free Trade Agreement.

As reported, a joint statement will be issued on the deals reached between the two countries, which are expected also to identify some other areas of bilateral cooperation, probably the construction of Keyrung-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway tracks, construction of a transmission line between Nepal and China, the Upper Arun Hydropower Project construction, as well as the fuel import from China, on which a memorandum of understanding was signed some time ago. The full significance of PM Oli’s visit will be known after the conclusion of the visit, but the ten agreements, MoUs and letters of exchange clearly show that they cover a comprehensive nature of bilateral cooperation, which can be expected to benefit Nepal and Nepalis in a number of ways. India and China being emerging economic powers in the world and Nepal lying between the two, it can immensely benefit from this and from their economic interactions. Our policy makers need to do homework thoroughly, set the country’s economic priorities and exploit fully the opportunities they offer.

Trade means both export and import. Till now, Nepal’s imports have exceeded its exports several times; therefore, our policy makers need to explore the potentials of Nepali exports, identify the areas, and make policies to develop them so that the country’s balance of trade with both India and China will considerably improve, helping it grow fast economically. The accords with China will greatly help Nepal diversify its trade and greatly reduce its economic vulnerabilities. The agreements should be implemented with all sincerity without losing time. For this, the Keyrung-Ruswadagi road will have to be sufficiently upgraded and finished within the deadline of two years. The rest will be taken care of by entrepreneurs, business people and the general public with proper policy and incentives provided by the government. PM Oli’s China visit has already proved successful, and will be long remembered by this nation for its far-reaching positive implications for Nepal.

Dentists unemployed

There are few openings for dentists in government  hospitals. These hospitals have more dentists than they can employ. As a result, the Nepal Dental Science Association has asked the government to fill the vacancies with qualified dentists. The predicament is due to the hospitals employing people who have undergone short-term courses as a result of which many certified dentists are unemployed.

The country is offering courses in dentistry and many dentists are trained every year. But these dentists have little job opportunities. If this is the case, then we should stop permitting colleges to run dental courses as their graduates cannot find jobs despite their qualifications and expertise. Under the circumstances, the authorities should monitor the dental clinics to see to it that only the certified dentists are providing treatment.