Sunday, June 16, 2013

Repeated bandhs crippling economy

Economy has never been an agenda for hardliner communist parties, though they repeatedly claim of trying to make Nepal a sovereign and prosperous country.
The Mohan Baidhya led CPN-Maoist — a breakaway faction of the UCPN-Maoist — and its allies called a bandh, today, bleeding the economy white, following the path of its mother party UCPN-Maoist, which despite ruling the country twice, is still in confusion on economic freedom of the people that it claims to care for.
A day of bandh costs the country Rs 1.98 billion, according to a research -- by Liveable Nepal -- that has also revealed that even an hour of bandh costs the country around Rs 83 million.
However, political parties that claim to have been fighting for the poor are making the poor poorer and the rich richer by calling bandhs repeatedly, making daily wage earners difficult to live. And when someone tries to exercise their right to economic freedom, the protesters vandalise personal property going against the law of the land.
The bandh supporters, apart from not letting the daily wage earners work for living, also vandalised shops in various districts today as well,” according to the private sector.
“The forceful closure of business and damage to personal property are criminalisation of politics,” the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said, asking the government to take strong action against such vandals. “The lawlessness will not only discourage the private sector but also curtail the freedom of movement of people that is against human rights.”
Political parties should protest without hampering employment and businesses, FNCCI said. “In the absence of the right to economic freedom, the already tattered economy will suffer more.”
It has also asked the protesters to respect the right to movement and profession of the people as these are basic human rights.
Currently, the country is in dire need of investment — both domestic and foreign — to create employment and fuel economic growth but bandhs will curtail economic activities and people's right to profession.
Due to the failure of the government to create employment, some 1,700 youths fly to the Gulf and Malaysia daily in search of greener pastures as the industrial sector that could create employment has been witnessing sluggish growth since the last one decade. “A bandh costs the industrial sector Rs 386 million per day,” according to the research.
The Maoists, who claim to be working for the poor, have always been depriving the poor to a living as they always resort to bandhs to protest against the government when they are not in power.
Hence, it is no surprise that Nepal ranks in the mostly unfree economy category under the Economic Freedom Index published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal annually. “Nepal has scored 50.40 — out of 100 — for 2013,” according to The Heritage Foundation that has revealed that the top 20 per cent on the index have twice the per capita income of those in the second quintile, and five times that of the bottom 20 per cent, where Nepal is ranked.
“People unmistakably care about the degree to which the society where they live provides them opportunities and the freedom to undertake new projects, strongly with and make choices based on one's personal preferences,” the report said, adding that higher economic freedom promotes participation and collaboration and is extremely significant in preventing wars, as according to their research, economic freedom is around 54 times more effective than democracy in diminishing violent conflict.
The Maoists are not serious about economic freedom and they are promoting conflict in the country, the private sector blamed, adding that safety of life and property, proper and effective implementation of rule of law, and freedom to enterprise and participation in a profession of one's choice should be guaranteed for the economic growth of the country.

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