LETTERS: Precarious trading

Apropos of the editorial “Focus on energy” (THT, January 11, Page 8), it is a timely advice to the government that might still be floating in the clouds of more elections.

Nepali economic wizards have pinpointed two major causes for the trade imbalance ratio of a little over 10:1 in favour of the country during the five-month review period: energy shortage and fixed exchange rate with Indian currency. While the latter might require political will the former needs no such rigmarole.

We know since we learn to stand up on our wobbly legs that this country is home to the second largest hydro potential, only after equally impoverished Brazil. The irony is little Laos, which had faced more bombing per capita in the mankind’s history, has surged ahead of us in energy production as much as in tourism.

Now, the lessons for the politicians of all hues, sizes, shapes and ideologies are that Nepal’s trade, commerce and development will suffer, perhaps even more, if they keep on procrastination on development of energy. We have the raw ingredients to produce hydro energy and we have the people including traders and huge mass of political cadres willing to work for its generation. So that is good news. We also have the technical know-how and the money including part of 500 million US dollars for energy transmission lines.

Are energy deficiency and Indian currency the only culprits contributing to the lop-sided trade balance? Should we not be reviewing it and why we are importing iron and steel (Rs 43.09bn), machinery parts (Rs 40.95bn), vehicles (Rs 35.56bn) and shockingly electric equipment (Rs 29.66bn) in a country with only about 1000-MW of energy produced in 150 years? Our major export portfolios are stuck in coffee/tea (Rs 3.71bn), fibres (Rs 3.19bn), carpets (Rs 2.97bn), garments (Rs 2.84bn) and, shockingly, iron and steel (Rs 1.96bn). Our iron and steel import and export stand at approximately 20:1.

We need steel and iron for construction and reconstruction, but do we get any economic benefit? What about vehicles? We are one of the poorest nations on the face of the planet. We need to review our imports with microscopic details.

Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu

Fire and fury

This is with reference to the main article “Spectacular fallout: The escalating Trump-Bannon feud” (THT, January 10, Page 8).

The new book “Fire and fury” will be spine chilling for the Trump administration. The world has been experiencing Trump’s self-centred behaviour and political naivety on his part. He has been shaming and naming everyone who came up with the facts about how eccentric he is in terms of obeying the basic human rights precepts when it comes to dealing with refugees.

And his Russia wiretap issue is also a piece of spine-chilling news for his presidency for the next election. I hope the author has fairly and rigorously presented the facts and figures by dint of his painstaking research in the book for maintaining the fairness and authenticity in order to disseminate the message that the world deserves.

Shiva Neupane, Melbourne