Sunday, May 15, 2016

13th periodic plan misses most of the targets

Lack of a coherent framework while preparing an approach paper for the plan and persistence of political instability and policy inconsistency coupled with unprecedented natural shocks and a massive erosion of implementation capacity have resulted in the 13th periodic plan failing measurably and missing most of its targets.
The plan – that is coming to an end by July 15 – has only achieved targets that can be counted on one's fingertips during the plan period spanning the last three fiscal years, according to data from the National Planning Commission (NPC).
According to former member of the NPC Swarnim Wagle, the 13th periodic plan lacked basic maturity of preparation, raising a question mark over how realistic the targets were. "Likewise, the last three years also saw three different governments in a continuation of the political instability that contributed hugely to policy inconsistency," he said, adding that unprecedented shocks such as the devastating earthquake and the Indian blockade also played havoc with the targets. "The erosion of implementation capacity was likewise a key factor in missing most of the targets of the periodic plan," he added.
The 13 periodic plan – that commenced in fiscal year 2013-14 – had a target of preparing the base for the country's graduation to developing country status by 2022 from the current status of Least Developed Country (LDC). In preparing the base for the graduation, the plan targetted achieving 6 per cent economic growth on average in the three-year plan period. However, the government has failed to achieve the growth target as the average economic growth rate plunged to 2.92 per cent, according to the planning commission.
Reviewing the 13th plan, NPC vice chair Dr Yubraj Khatiwada said that the transitional plan has failed to achieve not only the economic growth target but also a host of other targets, including inflation reduction, average employment rate growth, poverty reduction, access to electricity, generation of electricity, drinking water supply and sanitation, enrollment in primary schools, irrigation and road connectivity.
"Though increased government spending in the social sector has helped achieve some of the targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), low implementation capacity and absence of elected local bodies have made the achievement of the targets impossible," Khatiwada said, adding that low economic growth and less employment opportunity have left the country still more dependent on foreign employment.
The planning commission had targetted an annual increase of 3.2 per cent on average in employment in the last three fiscal years, but the achievement has been stuck below target at 2.9 per cent. Likewise, the plan has missed the poverty reduction and inflation targets. The plan had a target of bringing the poverty rate down to 18 per cent from 24.2 per cent but the current rate of poverty stands at 21.6 per cent, according to the panning commission. The government's failure in cracking down on spiraling prices has kept the average inflation rate at 8.8 per cent, which is above the plan target of 7 per cent.
Khatiwada attributed the misses to the devastating earthquake and border disruption that helped squeeze economic growth in the current fiscal year. The plan has, however, surpassed the targets in telephony penetration, including mobile phones, and in the area covered by forests. "The increase in telephony penetration has nonetheless failed to contribute to economic growth," Khatiwada added.
The 13th periodic plan was the third three-year interim plan following the second democratic movement that overthrew the monarchy and made Nepal the youngest republic in the world. Earlier, the planned development process that started some six decade back had been under five-year periodic plans, till the 10th plan.

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