Sunday, October 23, 2011

Private sector welcomes, politicians confused on BIPPA

Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India has confused parties, though private sector has welcomed it.
Former finance minister and CPN-UMP leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari has welcomed the agreement, whereas his party leaders including former prime Minister and CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and and senior leader K P Oli blamed the incumbent Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai for compromising the national interest by signing the agreement.
Adhikari though supported the agreement, blamed Bhattarai for keeping the house in dark.
"I agreed we need Indian investment for development but why Prime Minister mislead the country saying he is not signing any agreement," he said, in an interaction today.
"There is something hidden agreement between Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Dr Bhattarai," he suspected, blaming PM for misleading parliament and not building political consensus before signing the agreement. "Why he did not seek political consensus in the agreement that affects country for years," he asked.
Indian government has proposed BIPPA in 2001 but the government has refused to sign in the agreement showing insurgency and political transition, Adhikari said, adding that BIPPA was in Nepal's court since a decade but earlier government did not sign it showing political transition.
Similarly, UCPN-Maoist leader Dev Gurung also blamed PM for misleading the parliament. "He even did not brief a single word about BIPPA in party meeting on India visit," he said adding that the party will take action against him.
According to him, the country in transition could not afford the cost of compensation and economy will collapse. There are some of compensation measures mentioned in the agreement are beyond the control of the government, he said adding that BIPPA will make obstruction to provide equal treatment to investment from other countries.
However, private sector has welcomed BIPPA hoping the country will benefit from the agreement in long run. "I have not seen any wrong in the agreement," said president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) Suresh Kumar Basnet.
"Political parties should not oppose BIPPA, if they want to attract Indian investments," he said, adding that the agreement will build confidence of Indian investors. India has largest investment in the country but their establishments are facing labour and other problems in recent years.
"The agreement will build the government proactive and solved small problems in their early days," he said. According to him, BIPPA will make political parties and trade unions more responsible as the country has to pay for losses of foreign industries.
Similarly, economist Dr Chiranjivi Nepal said that the agreement is essential for prosperity of the country. "There is no debate on foreign investment is essential for development, then why we are opposing the agreement," he asked adding that BIPPA will open door to industrial development in the country.
According to him, increased financial responsibility through BIPPA will make the government and political parties more responsible. "If the government and political parties become responsible there will not be financial compensation," he added.

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