Monday, May 28, 2012

Private sector disappointed

The sudden 'death' of the Constituent Assembly (CA) at the last moment yesterday evening, came as a huge disappointment to the entrepreneurs.
"It is a huge disappointment for the private sector," said Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president Suraj Vaidya.
The investors, both domestic and foreign, have been waiting eagerly for the new Constitution that could ensure investment-friendly climate in the country by guaranteeing the political stability and better law and order situation.
But the 'postponement' of Constitution drafting process seems to hit the country hard as the investors could not afford to wait for eternity. The government that has been unable to spend on development activities that could create jobs will also be in dilemma. "No investment means no employment creation which will drive more Nepali youths out of the country in search of greener pasture due to lack of employment back home," Vaidya said, adding that it will not only be a huge loss of human capital but also not help create sustainable and independent economy.
By the third quarter of the current fiscal year, the country has seen a whopping trade deficit of Rs 284.6 billion as it has exported only Rs 55.24 billion worth merchandise but imported Rs 339.84 billion worth merchandise, according to the central bank. The frequent bandh and supply side constraints have not only pulled the manufacturing down but also saw loss of employment hurting the economy. The only sector that has seen a ray of hope due to sustained growth of tourist arrivals has also stated feeling the heat due to cancellation
Similarly, the government's plan of inviting Rs 300 billion foreign investment during Nepal Investment Year for 2012-13 might also hit by the recent development, apart from the fiscal policy that the Finance Ministry has been preparing.
National Planning Commission (NPC) has given a ceiling of Rs 429 billion for the budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 that also has to be announced through ordinance in absence of the parliament. But with added election cost the ministry will find it difficult to balance the resources, according to the Finance Ministry.
"The economy might get a shock as the cost of election will bleed the government coffer dry," the president of the umbrella organisation of the private sector said.
According to 'Election Cost in Nepal', a book by Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, apart from the government expenses, the CPN-UML reportedly spent Rs 136.80 million in the elections while the Nepali Congress and the UCPN (Maoist) occupy the second and third positions by spending Rs 58.50 million and Rs 37.99 million, respectively in the last Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.
The election cost between 1991 and 2008, according to the book, has gone up by more than 250 per cent in the period, posing a serious threat on economy."How many elections can the economy sustain without increased investment and resources," Vaidya added.


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