Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prime Minister Bhattarai fails to deliver


All talk and no work has made Dr Baburam Bhattarai a failed prime minister.
Bhattarai could neither gain the confidence of entrepreneurs nor the common public, despite tall claims of creating an investment-friendly environment in the country and providing relief to the common man.
"He was bound to fail due to his political illusion and confused state of mind," according to senior economist Prof Dr Bishwhambher Pyakuryal.
"He could not bring about any structural changes but distorted the policy," he said, blaming him for spoiling the investment climate and lengthening political instability that is bound to cost the country dearly.
"The PM also politicised the Investment Board and commitments for foreign direct investment have come down in the last one year," the senior economist added.
Since Bhattarai came to power on August 29, 2011, the country also witnessed an out flux of some 530,250 youths — from July 16, 2011 to July 15, 2012 — in search of greener pastures to Gulf countries and Malaysia, and a section of entrepreneurs have started lobbying for being allowed to invest abroad, which proves that neither of them have confidence in the Bhattarai-led government.
"The government should have created an investment-friendly environment in the country, instead of letting entrepreneurs invest abroad," said president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Suraj Vaidya.
He was of the view that the indicated-move of allowing entrepreneurs to invest abroad will discourage foreign investors from coming to Nepal as envisioned by the Investment Year.
The current fiscal year that was announced as Investment Year by the incumbent premier Bhattarai to attract some Rs 600 billion also seems to fall flat like his Mustang-propaganda, which neither encouraged entrepreneurs to invest in the country nor created employment.
Last September, he brought a relief package promising the moon to the people, but failed to 'walk the talk' and not a single promise could be implemented. "His good governance measures also failed miserably as his party itself is involved in corruption, let alone his coalition partners," according to former finance minister Surendra Pandey.
Dr Bhattarai has let the people down, said Pandey, adding that it will also cost the premier as his image as an intellectual, who can lead the country to prosperity has failed. "Dr Bhattarai could not implement his own agenda and toed others' agendas," he blamed.
Former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat is of the view that Bhattarai has maintained the economy, neither could he attract foreign investment nor fulfill people's expectations.
However, economist Dr Dilli Khanal claimed that the prime minister has tried to bring in changes with his programmes and packages. "But people had higher expectations from him and he has not been able to fulfill their expectations."
Similarly, Dr Uma Shankar Prasad opined that the Bhattarai government seems to be going in the right direction in terms of new economic policies. “The government established the Investment Board and made some bold decisions regarding the development of hydropower but the implementation of those policies remained poor, and he also failed to control corruption,” he said, adding, “As far as good governance is concerned, Nepal is behind almost all South Asian countries.”

Performance evaluation
KATHMANDU: On the basis of doing business environment, investment-friendly climate, inclusiveness of private sector and economic growth, eminent economists, politicians and private sector leaders ranked the incumbent prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai at an average of 4.34 out of 10.

Scorecard
Former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat — 4/10
Former finance minister Surendra Pandey — 0/10
Prof Dr Bishwhambher Pyakuryal — 3/10
Prof Dr Madan Dahal — 5/10
Dr Bhola Chalise — 2.9/10
Dr Bimal Koirala — 2/10
Dr Uma Shankar Prasad — 6/10
FNCCI president Suraj Vaidya — 7/10
NCC president Suresh Basnet — 7.5/10
CNI vice president Hari Bhakta Sharma — 6/10

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