Not so rosy
With reference to the news report “FM’s meet with donors ahead of NDF plenum” (THT, March 3), Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai is confident that the macroeconomic situation is sound and most of the indicators are satisfactory. Certainly there has been an improvement in revenue collection and last year’s harvest was good, but the economic outlook for the coming 12 months or more does not seem rosy. There will be a decline in income from Nepali migrant workers as unemployment increases, and from exports as foreign markets shrink, while tourism may well also see a reduction in foreign
exchange earnings. Foreign direct investment will remain limited unless effective arrangements for joint enterprises are developed. The winter harvest is likely to be poor for lack of rain, while fear of bird flu continues to affect poultry production.
The government must not be complacent. It needs to be more realistic and more proactive, and seek, with support from a strengthened NPC and wider group of economic advisers, to promote both short and long term diversification and sustainability in all sectors. Immediate solutions need to be found to the problems facing the transport sector and as regards the reliable provision of electricity, more effective support should be given to exporters and to the promotion of tourism, and development activities responsive to immediate needs should be encouraged. Improved security and the restoration of law and order, particularly in the Tarai, is a pre-requisite for economic stability and growth. For the longer term, investment in infrastructure (including through public works), alternative energy production, human resource development and social protection are priorities.
The FM should make clear at the Nepal Development Forum (NDF) that foreign investment is welcome but reliance on foreign loans, in whatever guise, should be progressively reduced and foreign aid more effectively channelled into those areas identified as priorities by the government.
Prof David Seddon,
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
The government’s threat to bar students of private schools from appearing for the SLC exams if their schools do not pay the 5per cent education tax is very inconsiderate. It is disappointing that the minister concerned has left the students in the lurch. We know that there are many deserving candidates who have won scholarships to study in boarding schools. It is sad that instead of taking measures to improve the quality of education, the government is itself
Rhea Gurung, St. Mary’s High School, Jawalakhel
I agree with Maoist leader C P Gajurel in that the Maoists must be in the government to earn
people’s confidence. If the party decides to quit the government at this crucial time, the Unified CPN-Maoist would be known as a failed party.
Experience definitely counts when the question of politics comes. But Gajurel’s view of CPN-UML as a party without any principle is also very true. They claim one thing one day and the
opposite the very next day.
Dwaipayan Regmi, College of Business and Social