Saturday, December 1, 2018

Govt urges World Bank to revise ‘Doing Business’ methodology

The government has again expressed strong concerns regarding the ‘Doing Business’ report, which was published by the World Bank (WB) on October 31.
At a programme organised by the Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal (Sejon) to mark the 21st Sejon Day in the Valley, finance minister Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada, said that the report had reflected a negative picture of the country’s economic condition and investment environment.
“We had expressed our concern to the World Bank over the report," he said, adding that the World Bank mission officials have already arrived in Nepal and have started reviewing the report.
Minister Khatiwada rued the fact that the World Bank had been using six months old data to prepare report. "The World Bank must use the latest data as much as possible if it wants to provide a relevant report,” he emphasised, adding that it should include data till at least October. However, the World Bank (WB) prepares the report according to its annual schedule despite the change in governments in any of the countries. It also uses the data according to its annual calendar, not according to each of the country. But Khatiwada claimed that the World Bank collects data till May only and it is the major reason for a gloomy investment picture of the country.
Nepal ranked 105th in the ‘Doing Business’ ranking in 2017 but this year the country has dropped to the 110th position, hinting at a weakening state of trade and investment climate as it has failed to simplify the tax payment process. But Khatiwada claimed that the tax regime in Nepal is more progressive and simplified against what the World Bank reported. He also reiterated that the incumbent government has created an investment friendly environment by taking the initiative to strengthen existing policies and the system of the government but the report does not reflect that.
“World Bank needs to change the methodology of its research," the finance minister added, though the World Bank doesnot change the methodology for any one country.
Khatiwada, on the occasion, also defended the whopping trade deficit. "We recently acquired two wide-body aircraft for Nepal Airlines Corporation,” he said, adding that Nepal needs to import the equipments for development works like hydropower, which will in long run pay off. "We are planning to generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity in the next decade and for that we have to import machinery and equipment, so import in itself should not be taken as a negative development."
On the occasion, Sejon presented Rudra Khadka of Nagarik Daily and Subash Yonjan of Capitalnepal with the annual Sejon Award.
Khadka has awarded under the print media category. He was recognised for his series of in-depth stories on Sikta Irrigation Project. Khadka has been honoured with a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a certificate of appreciation.
Similarly, in the online category, Subash Yonjan from was honoured with the Sejon award for writing in-depth stories on fake rescue scams in the mountaineering and trekking sectors. Likewise, Bhagwan Khanal from Karobar National Economic Daily was awarded Late Sanjay Neupane Research Grant, while Amar Baduwal and Arun Sapkota were given Hydro Solution Fellowship grants.
Likewise, editor of Karobar National Economic Daily Kuber Chalise, chief editor of Abhiyan Daily Madan Lamsal, Hridaya Gautam from Ajako Artha and news chief of Kantipur TV Prashant Aryal were honoured by the Sejon for their long contributions in economic journalism.

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