Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Private sector mourns death of former PM Koirala

The private sector has expressed grief at the demise of former Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) president Sushil Koirala. Koirala, 77, passed away today morning at his residence. The private sector was stunned by Koirala's sudden demise, they said.
Issuing separate statements, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) described Koirala's passing away as 'a great loss' to the nation.
According to the president of FNCCI Pashupati Muraraka, the country has suffered an unbearable loss. "Koirala had a significant contribution to the democratic movement with commendable leadership," he said, adding that the private sector will always appreciate his contribution of leading the country through the transition and promulgation of a new Constitution. It was Sushil Koirala, who drivered the promulgation of a new Constitution through the Constituent Assembly, despite a huge pressure from in and out of the country.
The FNCCI also claimed that Koirala was always concerned for the economic development of Nepal. "Now the implementation of the new Constitution and lead the country towards a prosperous future rests on the political parties," the umbrella organisation of the private sector said, adding that Koirala had played a legendary role in the democratic movement and especially in institutionalising democratic republic in the country. “During meetings with the private sector, Koirala used to encourage the private sector to make investments and attract foreign investment as well."
The biggest achievement of Koirala's political career was the promulgation of the Constitution on September 20, 2015. In his capacity as the Prime Minister, Koirala played a crucial role in generating political consensus for the statute’s endorsement despite various pressures.
Under his leadership, the Nepali Congree (NC) re-emerged as the largest party with the highest number of votes. Koirala led the government from February 2014, after the election to the second Constituent Assembly (CA). He was elected as the NC party president in September 2010.
Koirala, when was the premier, used to say that Nepal would embark on a economic development journey and the government’s focus would shift towards economic development once the Constitution was promulgated.
According to CNI, the country lost an honest and simple person with a clean character. "Koirala was a strong supporter of independence, democratic values and liberal economy," it further said, adding that Koirala’s death has not just created a void on the political front but also on the economic front.
The chamber has also lauded Koirala’s role in uniting the political parties for the promulgation of the new Constitution. "The people’s hopes of seeing a new constitution through the Constituent Assembly was fulfilled during his tenure,” according to president of chamber Rajesh Kazi Shrestha.
The supporter of open market and free economy, Koirala firmly believed open market and free economy play a crucial role for country's development and prosperity.
According to the chamber, Koirala always played an inspirational role for the country’s private sector. "Koirala believed that the sustainable development of the country was possible only through an open market, liberal economy and private sector," the NCC said, adding that he always believed the nation will prosper with private sector-led economic growth.
Though, he did not have much knowledge about economics, and was not aware of how it exactly functioned, he was keen on attracting domestic and foreign investments for employment generation and economic development of the country. He also used to say that the country’s resources have to be used properly so that prosperity could be shared.
Going against the tide, he also made some bold decisions like signing power trade deal with India during his 20-month reign from February 2014 to October 2015. Likewise, the signing of two agreements on development of 900MW Upper Karnali and 900MW Arun-3 hydroelectric projects worth over $2 billion was also possible under Koirala's premiership.
Koirala’s government also revived talks on construction of 5,600MW Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project after a hiatus of almost two decades; allowed at least three foreign companies to establish cement plants worth tens of billions of rupees; and lured billions of rupees of investment in the hotel sector. Koirala, however, did not sign any agreement that was against the national interest, despite pressures from within and outside his party.
During his tenure as Prime Minister Nepal's received a record Rs 270.60 billion foreign aid commitments in fiscal year 2014-15. Koirala also supported the process of revising or framing around three dozen policies and Acts to attract foreign investment and protect the interest of investors.
The Koirala government was also hailed by the international community as it was quick in responding the devastating earthquake of April 25 and mobilised the National Planning Commission -- chaired by him -- to conduct Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). An International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction (ICNR) on the basis of PDNA helped Nepal receive funding commitment of $4.1 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation works from the international community.
The international community, including Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has also mourned the sudden demise of Koirala.
NRNA president Shesh Ghale, in a statement, said that Koirala’s death had stunned the association. "We have lost our parent, who always remained helpful and guided the NRNA in its movement," he is quoted in the statement. "Koirala’s demise has caused an irreparable loss to the nation."

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