Thursday, November 26, 2015

Billionaire Chaudhary raises blockade issue at Commonwealth summit

President of Chaudhary Group (CG) and President Emeritus of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Binod Chaudhary has drawn the attention of international community, stating that the ongoing blockade on Nepal will create extreme humanitarian crisis.
He also raised the issue of Indian blockade of key border trade points with India at the Commonwealth Summit in Malta, warning that it will create extreme humanitarian crisis in the country already reeling from the devastating earthquake.
Addressing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of the 53-member bloc, president of Chaudhary Group (CG) and President Emeritus of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Binod Chaudhary said that Nepal already devastated by earthquake is pushed into economic crisis by the ongoing blockade. "The blockade has crippled daily lives of people and virtually shut down industries and businesses in the country," the only Nepali billionaire listed by Forbes said, addressing the meeting on 'Connecting Asia: Accelerating Regional Integration and Development’, today. Though Nepal is not a Commonwealth member country, Chaudhary was invited as a guest. Heads of nations, heads of governments and private sector leaders from around 80 countries are participating in the meeting. The meeting is an important international forum in which the heads of nation and government discuss common challenges, new opportunities, and priorities.
Stressing on the need for liberal leadership for regional integration in South Asia, he said that it would be possible only, if the leading country India shows liberal attitude towards its neighbours. "India should play as liberal role as Germany did during European Union’s establishment."
Chaudhary also expressed concern over the land-locked country’s deprivation from free transport facility. Pointing that Nepal has not received support from anywhere for ending the blockade, he said the situation has put the relevance and usefulness of SAARC under question. "SAARC is known as the weakest regional organisation in the world," a statement quoted Chaudhary, adding, "Despite occasional good initiatives and plans, the region has always lagged behind on regional integration and development due to mutual disagreements."
Development of infrastructure is a precondition for the development of SAARC, which is home to 40 per cent of the world’s poor. But due to mutual distrust and lack of cooperation, there hasn’t been any progress towards building infrastructure such as cross-country road networks, and institutions such as SAARC bank,” he added.
Stressing on the need of transportation network for regional development and integration, Chaudhary said in lack of it the cost of production and distribution among SAARC nations is high. Development of inter-national road network and unrestricted access to transportation is inevitable for the region that is home to landlocked countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
Nepal has been reeling under severe shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to unrest by Tarai-Madhes-centric parties, which are protesting against the new Constitution, and blockade of key border trade points by India.
Though, India maintains that there has been 'no blockade' and the problem is political in nature which has to be resolved by the Nepalese leadership through dialogue, Nepal is reeling under acute shortage of essential goods including petroleum products and even medicine, due to restriction on customs, where there is no protest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Industrialist Mittal passes away

Noted industrialist Banwari Lal Mittal passed away today morning at his residence in Gyaneshwor, following a protracted illness. He was 79.
He had returned to Kathmandu on Monday after getting treatment at Medant Hospital, Gurgaon in India. Mittal had been ill since last one month. He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
Mittal served as the president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and Marwadi Sewa Samiti. NCC has condoled Mittal’s death, saying that he was an active member of chambers movement in Nepal. He led NCC in the 1990s. A leading figure in the Nepali chamber movement, Mittal was also the founder chairman of the Contractors Association of Nepal and a founder member of Nepal Eye Hospital. A man of high moral integrity, Mittal however, made a name for himself in the aviation sector.
Best known for pioneering commercial helicopter services in Nepal, Mittal had started Shree Airlines around 16 years ago. In the 1990s, Mittal ventured out of the family business and entered the aviation sector, establishing Air Ananya – that has been renamed as Shree Airlines offering pilgrimage tours in Manasarovar, Mt Kailash and Muktinath, later – with a fully-owned fleet of five MI-17 helicopters when the government launched a liberal aviation policy.
Transporting cargo and essential items like food and medicines to remote areas that lack road transportation, the carrier quickly established itself in the domestic aviation market.
Today, Shree Airlines is the largest helicopter operator in Nepal with a fleet of six 24-seat Russian-made MI-17 helicopters and four Eurocopter AS350 B3e helicopters. In 2010, Shree Airlines spread its wings outside Nepal, flying baggage and equipment for United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Africa, according to the airlines, that ha also condoled the demise of Mittal.
Involved in family-owned construction and textile businesses in the beginning, Mittal was also affiliated with various institutions like North Nepal Tea State and various social organisations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Inflationary pressures to worsen: White Paper

The government has projected economic growth to hover around 2 per cent and inflationary pressures to increase due to supply side constraints.
Issuing a White Paper – 'Current Economic Scenario of the Country: Government's Immediate Action Plan' – today, finance minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel said that economic growth could plunge further, if the current obstacles and strikes continue. The government, in the budget for the current fiscal year, had projected 6 percent economic growth.
Lower development expenses and imports are also going to hit economic growth, Poudel added.
The government – after 100 days of the Tarai-Madhes unrest and two months of Indian
blockade – has brought the White Paper without mentioning 'Indian blockade,' let alone the measures to fight it.
Though he has failed to spell out any remedies to address the current economic crisis, he said that industries, agriculture and the service sector, apart from the social sector, have been badly affected. “The shortage of essential goods and services like drugs and fuel is leading toward a humanitarian crisis," he said.
The finance minister also said that the current obstructions have negatively impacted socio-economic conditions. The current crisis has added to the challenge for the incumbent government to graduate Nepal from developing country status by 2022 and to a mid-income status by 2030, he added. "The government also has the challenge of making the economy self-reliant."
Poudel has tried – without any concrete plans – to assure the people of energy security, food security, maintaining of law and order, and starting reconstruction work without delay to bring respite to earthquake victims.
He also did not forget to mention alternative routes for imports, encouragement of electric vehicles, involvement of the private sector in the petroleum business, continuity for the economic reforms programme, industrial security, facilitation of industries, good governance, increment of domestic production, encouragement to foreign investment, tourism promotion, economic diplomacy, and transparency in fuel distribution, apart from an effective monitoring system, though he lacked any concrete plans to address them.
However, the market is riddled with black marketeering in fuel, which has increased the pressure on inflation. The minister admitted that market prices are going up due to shortages and the black market.
The central bank in a report – Impact of Indian Blockade in Nepali Economy – last week had painted a bleak economic picture. It has also projected inflationary pressures due to the Indian blockade that has led to supply disruption and lower economic growth, even negative economic growth.
As inflation is going to post double-digit growth, the White Paper also projected that it will hit people hard. The central bank has – in its Monetary Policy for the current fiscal year – projected inflation to remain under 8 per cent. However, worsening shortage of essential goods and services, lower domestic production and the rampant black market are going to push inflation to more than 10 percent.
The population out of employment – due to the obstructions and strikes – is going to be hit hard by rising market prices, and they will be pushed under the poverty line. "The devastating earthquake has pushed some 700,000 Nepalis below the poverty line, and the number is going to increase due to the current crisis," Poudel said.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cost of inaction higher, set up Economic War Room to handle crisis: Experts

Economists have suggested the government to set up an Economic War Room to fight the current crisis.
Accusing the government of not being serious even after 100 days of the Tarai-Madhes unrest and 2 months of Indian blockade, they said the government should go on a war footing to address the people’s woes.
The government lacks seriousness and has failed to address the people’s woes,” they said, adding that the people have been suffering due to shortages of essentials like cooking gas, petrol and life-saving drugs.
Saying that cost of inaction is higher, they also accused the government of lack of crisis management skills. “The government completely lacks crisis managerial skills,” said industrialist Hari Bhakta Sharma. “The government is ineffective and weak as it has failed to address the crisis,” he said, adding that it has also failed to maintain law and order. "The government, instead of solving the crisis, has only aggravated it."
The apathy of the political parties has also aggravated the crisis, Sharma said calling for diversification of the economy. “Trade diversification does not mean that Nepal imports from China what it used to import from India,” he explained.
Stating that the weak state machinery has fuelled the black market, he suggested the government making the distribution channels more efficient. "The demurrage and detention charges that industrialists have been paying will hurt the economy,” he added.
Urging the government to make clear its industrial and economic policy, the industrialist also gave examples of other countries where the governments had rescued the economy in times of crisis.
Foreign investment will not come to any country where domestic investment is not secure, he said also asking the government to safeguard domestic investment to save jobs too. Rising unemployment is perceived to create security problem later.
Linking the current economic crisis to national security, former member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Swarnim Wagle said that a country can be either attacked directly with armed forces or the economy can be weakened for takeover.
He suggested analysing the current crisis from four angles: fiscal, monetary, external sector and real sector. “Under fiscal sector, revenue mobilisation is very discouraging,” he said, adding that revenue mobilisation in the first four months is only 70 per cent of target and half that of the same period of last fiscal year. “It will hit development work directly and economic growth in the long run, which is a serious matter.”
From the monetary angle, black marketeering has become rife and people are forced to pay four times the normal price of goods, which will hit the poor most and build up inflationary pressure.
Likewise, exports have dropped by 25 per cent in the first four months, whereas imports have dropped by 35 per cent. The decline in imports will ultimately hit exports also, he said, adding that remittance alone has cushioned the current trade imbalance. “It will pull economic growth down but we cannot yet see the floor of that effect.”
A strong aviation sector however could rescue land-locked countries like Nepal in times of blockades, Wagle suggested.
Asking the government to continue with its second generation reforms to build up economic competitiveness, he said it was necessary to improve interdependency with neighbours. “In normal times too, Nepal must have good trade relations with China, apart from improving customs arrangements with the southern neighbour for more cross-border trade.”
Madan Kumar Dahal, another economist, on the occasion, also said that Nepal Rastra Bank and the IMF have also painted a bleak economic picture. Calculating that the current crisis has caused the Nepali economy to lose Rs 540 billion, he also warned of a humanitarian crisis as there are no life-saving drugs in the hospitals due to the Indian blockade and the Tarai-Madhes unrest. Dahal also suggest the government to declare an emergency to maintain smooth supplies. The government must bring in austerity measures and start a discipline campaign to maintain good governance, he suggested, adding that weak governance has fuelled the black market and spawned a parallel economy, which will further weaken the state and hit the poorest of the poor hard. "The inflation will go out of control from government's hands."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Government formally requests India to end cross border obstacle

The government has officially requested Indian government to ease supplies through India-Nepal border.
Nepal is reeling under acute shortage of petroleum products including cooking gas and medicine since last two months after India imposed blockade on major customs points at Nepal-India border chocking the supplies.
Passing a special resolution, the Cabinet meet also urged the southern neighbour to strengthen ties between Nepal and India, without mentioning the word 'blockade'. The Cabinet meeting has urged the southern neighbour to help clear obstruction of transit and supplies through border points. The Cabinet asked Indian government to contribute in strengthening bilateral relationship by easing operation at entry points as it has affected import of essentials including medicines and fuel, informed minister for Information and Communication Technology Sher Dhan Rai, after the meeting.
The government decision comes after 50 days of India imposed blockade at Nepal-India border points, which has been obstructed following the promulgation of new Constitution.
Likewise, the Cabinet also urged the agitating Tarai-Madhesh centric parties to end their protests stating that attempts are on to seek solution through talks, arrangements have been made for free treatment to injured, process has begun to withdraw false cases and decision to provide Rs 1 million to deceased families has been implemented.
"We requested the protestors to end blockade at border points as festivals like Tihar, Chhath and Lhosar are at the door, he said, adding that the government is saddened by the inconvenience caused to Nepali people at Tarai-Madhesh and across the country. "We express gratitude to the general public for their patience and harmony during this critical time."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Shadow economy expands thanks to government fecklessness

The shortage of essential goods in recent weeks and months, caused by the Tarai-Madhesh unrest and the Indian blockade, has spawned a shadow economy. The increasing reach of the shadow economy – also due to structural deficiencies and market anomalies – is going to bring about another catastrophe in the country, warn economists.
The spread of the shadow economy will hurt the country in the long run as the country will slip out of the government's hand, if the current situation continues, they said.
Former finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal said the economy is slipping out of the government's hands. "The economy is being hijacked by black-marketeers, smugglers and criminals," he said, adding that in the long run these elements will run the economy into the ground and that will also be bad for cross-border trade. "The economy in criminals' hands will eventually hit the cross-border trade too."
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Nepal's economy is worth around $21 billion.
"That is also about the size of the shadow economy," claimed economist Prof Dr Madan Kumar Dahal. "In economic parlance it is called the parallel economy," he said, adding that earnings from smuggling, corruption and black-marketteering are all part of this parallel or black economy, which will ruin the economy and country in the run long run.
Government fecklessness has not only left consumers helpless but also boosted the shadow economy.
Thus, suggesting that the government declare an emergency in view of the increasing shadow economy, Dahal said, "Nepal has turned into a banana republic." According to him, the country is suffering because of its complete dependency on one country and failure at trade diversification over the past few decades.
The prolonged Indian blockade has pushed the prices of essential commodities, includes petroleum products, to more than double. People are forced to pay anything between Rs 250 to Rs 500 per liter of petrol that costs only Rs 104 per liter. Consumers have been paying Rs 10,000 for a cylinder of cooking gas, which is priced at Rs 1,400. Likewise, the price of edible oil has increased to Rs 250 per liter from Rs 120 a month ago, whereas rice, lentils and pulses have also doubled in price. "But the government is nowhere to be seen," said president of Nepal Retailers Association (NRA) Pabitra Man Bajracharya, during an interaction with Nepal Republic Media today.
Admitting that the prices of some commodities have jumped, he said, wholesalers have been charging retailers high prices, citing supply constraints and increased transportation charges due to the fuel shortage.
The government has been doing nothing to control these market anamolies, he said, adding that officials at the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM), who are responsible for controlling such malpractices in the market and maintaining uniformity in prices, are in no mood to intervene. "They just say that the need of the hour is to get supply of goods," he added.
President of Consumer Rights Investigation Forum Madhav Timalsina seconded Bajracharya's views. "Nepali consumers are probably going through the toughest time ever," he said, accusing traders of creating artificial shortages to push up price. "As the government has been doing nothing, unscrupulous traders are having a field day," he added.
Despite the open black-marketeering, the government has done nothing, Timalsina said suggesting the government to scrap the consumer laws altogether, if it cannot enforce them.
The shortage has created opportunity for corrupt bureaucrats, black-marketeers and smugglers to earn illegal money distorting the market.
"The distortion in the market could be corrected, if government could monitor and regulate market, and also normalise the supply system," Khanal said, however, adding that government should let the market function smoothly, without intervention.
Likewise, Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma also accepted that high demand and low supply had encouraged black-marketeering. "But the government has to act fast to stop the economy from going to the dogs," Sharma said, claiming that the government is trying to build confidence in the market by regularising the supply-side.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

सरकारलाई अर्थशास्त्रीको सुझाव- ‘नाकाबन्दीबारे बोल, श्वेतपत्र जारी गर’

मधेस आन्दोलन र नाकाबन्दीबाट देशको अर्थतन्त्र र सर्वसाधारणको दैनिकीमा परेको नकारात्मक असरबारे श्वेतपत्र जारी गर्न अर्थविदहरूले सरकारलाई सुझाव दिएका छन्। करिब तीन महिनायता तराई–मधेसमा चलिरहेको आन्दोलन र महिना दिनभन्दा लामो समयदेखि भारतले लगाइरहेको नाकाबन्दीले आपूर्तिजन्य समस्या सिर्जना भई सर्वसाधारणको दैनिक जीवनयापनदेखि अर्थतन्त्रसम्म नराम्ररी प्रभावित भएको औंल्याउँदै उनीहरुले नाकाबन्दीबारे बोल्न र तत्काल श्वेतपत्र जारी गरेर नागरिकलाई देशको राजनीतिक तथा आर्थिक स्थितिबारे यथार्थ जानकारी गराउनुपर्ने औंल्याएका हुन्।
वरिष्ठ अर्थशास्त्री विश्वम्भर प्याकुरेलले ऐतिहासिक संविधानसभाले संविधान जारी गरेपछि देश आर्थिक मुद्दामा प्रवेश गर्ने र समृद्धिको सपना छिट्टै पूरा हुने जनअपेक्षा विपरीत अहिले सरकार र जनताबीच दुरी बढ्दै गएको बताए। ‘दैनिक जीवनयापन कठिन हुने गरी नाकाबन्दी हुँदा पनि सरकार नबोलेकाले सरकारकै वैधानिकतामा संकट आउने अवस्था भइसकेको छ,’ प्याकुरेलले अन्तर्क्रियामा भने, ‘त्यसकारण पनि सरकारले छिटोभन्दा छिटो श्वेतपत्र जारी गरेर आफ्ना नागरिकलाई विश्वासमा लिनुपर्छ।’
सरकार तथा आन्दोलनकारी तराई–मधेस केन्द्रित राजनीतिक दल दुवै पक्षका बेवास्ताले अर्थतन्त्र पूर्ण रुपमा धराशयी हुने औंल्याउँदै उनले सर्वसाधारणको जीवन कष्टपूर्ण हुने मात्र होइन, चालु संकट लम्बिए नेपाल असफलराष्ट्र हुन सक्ने औंल्याए।
दुई महिनाभन्दा बढी समयदेखि तराई–मधेस क्षेत्रलगायत देशका अधिकांश उद्योग बन्द भई बेरोजगारी बढ्दै गएको, आपूर्तिजन्य समस्याका कारण दैनिक उपभोग्य सामान अभाव भई उच्च मूल्यवृद्धि भएको तथा सरकारले आफ्नो सीमाको रक्षा पनि गर्न नसकेको भनी वैधानिकताको प्रश्न उठ्दा देशै असफल राष्ट्र हुनसक्ने खतरा बढ्दै गएको प्याकुरेलको विश्लेषण छ।
सर्वसाधारण नागरिकको सरकारमाथिको विश्वास घट्दै जाँदा पनि सरकार अझै चुपचाप रहेको औंल्याउँदै उनले यथाशीघ्र श्वेतपत्र जारी गर्न सुझाए।
प्याकुरेलका अनुसार हाल नेपाल असफल राष्ट्र हुने र बिस्तारै अर्थतन्त्र ‘कोल्याप्स’ हुने बाटोतिर गइरहेको छ।
उनका अनुसार आन्दोलन तथा नाकाबन्दीका कारण तेस्रो मुलुकबाट नेपाल आयात भएका सामानको कलकत्ता बन्दरगाहमा दैनिक ४ करोड विलम्ब शुल्क तिर्न बाध्य हुनुपरेको छ। नेपाल उद्योग वाणिज्य महासंघका अनुसार बन्दका कारण मात्र अर्थतन्त्रले प्रतिदिन २ अर्ब घाटा बेहोरिरहेको छ।
हालसम्म अर्थतन्त्रमा करिब १ सय ६० अर्ब रुपैयाँभन्दा बढीको घाटा भइसकेको औंल्याउँदै प्याकुरेलले अहिले मौद्रिक घाटा मात्र नभएर मुलुक सामाजिक तथा राजनीतिक रुपमा पनि असफल राष्ट्रको बाटोमा हिँडिरहेको बताए।
नाकाबन्दीका कारण सरकारले २५ अर्बभन्दा बढी राजस्व गुमाइसकेको छ।
यस्तै, बन्द, हडताल अन्त्य नभए वित्तीय क्षेत्र धराशयी हुनेछ र राज्य नै असफल हुनेछ भन्दै नेपाल बैंकर्स संघका अध्यक्ष उपेन्द्र पौडेलले बन्दका कारण औद्योगिक उत्पादन घटेको र २–३ महिनाको बन्द, हडतालले सर्वत्र असर गरिरहेको बेला बैंकिङ क्षेत्र पनि अछुतो नरहेको बताए। ‘यस्तो स्थितिमा कसरी अघि बढ्ने भनेर सरकारले स्पष्ट रोडम्याप बनाउन सकेको छैन,’ अन्तर्क्रियामा पौडेलले भने।
राष्ट्रबैंकको निर्देशनअनुसार ५ प्रतिशतभन्दा बढी एनपिए (निष्त्रि्कय कर्जा) हुनु हुँदैैन। एनपिए राष्ट्रबैंकले तोकेको मापदण्डभित्र राख्न गुणस्तरीय कर्जा प्रवाह गरिनुपर्छ। ‘अहिलेको प्रतिकूलताले कर्जाको गुणस्तर कायम गर्न समस्या पर्नेछ,’ उनले भने।
तत्कालका लागि राष्ट्रबैंकले कर्जाको ब्याज र किस्ता तिर्ने समयसीमा केही बढाएको छ। ‘त्यसले ऋणीलाई केही राहत पुगे पनि लामो समय यस्तै अवस्था रहने हो भने उनीहरुलेे कसरी ऋण भुक्तान गर्न सक्लान् र?’ पौडेलले प्रश्न गरे, ‘यसले बैंंकिङ क्षेत्रलाई नै असर गर्नेछ।’
लगानीकर्ताले विश्वास गुमाएर कर्जा प्रवाह नहुँदा अर्थतन्त्रका धेरै क्षेत्रमा यसको असर पर्ने र समग्र अर्थतन्त्र खुम्चने उनको भनाइ छ।
राष्ट्रिय योजना आयोगका पूर्वसदस्य चन्द्रमणि अधिकारीले भारतले अहिले गरेको नाकाबन्दी २०४५ सालभन्दा फरक भएको बताए। ‘घोषितभन्दा अघोषित नाकाबन्दी खतरापूर्ण हुन्छ,’ उनले भने, ‘घोषित नाकाबन्दीमा अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय निकायले अनुगमन तथा अवलोकन गर्छन्। अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय काम गर्न थाल्छन् तर अहिले अघोषित नाकाबन्दी भएकाले त्यो अवस्था पनि छैन। यसैले अहिलेको अवस्था जटिल छ। यसको समाधान निकाल्न पनि गाह्रो हुन्छ।’
उनका अनुसार अहिलेको नाकाबन्दीले काठमाडौंलाई समस्यामा पार्न खोजिएको छ। ‘काठमाडौं समस्याग्रस्त भइसकेपछि मुलुक असफल राष्ट्रतर्फ जाने खतरा हुन्छ,’ उनले भने, ‘सबैतिर नकारात्मक असर पर्दै गएको छ। ४ लाख औद्योगिकसहित १० लाख मजदुरले काम गुमाएका छन्।’
दैनिक कमाएर गुजारा गर्नुपर्ने ती मजदुरले आफनो आम्दानी गुमाए भने अर्कोतिर मूल्यवृद्धिले अर्को समस्या थपेको छ। वैशाखमा आएको भूकम्पका कारण वृद्धिदर झन्डै तीन प्रतिशतमा झर्योत, अधिकारीले भने, ‘भूकम्पले पुँजी (७ खर्ब रुपैयाँ) नोक्सान भएको छ। यो सञ्चित धनसम्पत्ति थियो।’ उनका अनुसार नाकाबन्दीलेे आम्दानी र सञ्चित धन दुवै नोक्सान भइरहेको छ।
नेपालको कुल गार्हस्थ उत्पादन २१ खर्ब २४ अर्ब रुपैयाँ हो। भूकम्प र नाकाबन्दीका कारण झन्डै १० खर्ब रुपैयाँ नोक्सान भइसकेको अवस्थामा हालको दुई महिनामा अर्को १० खर्बको नोक्सान भई अर्थतन्त्र नै नकारात्मकतर्फ जाने खतरा बढ्दो रहेको उनको भनाइ छ। ‘यी सबै कुराले गर्दा मुलुक असफलतातिर जान खोजेको हो कि भन्ने खतरा बढेको छ,’ उनले भने, ‘त्यसैले सरकारले सबै समस्यालाई समेटेर श्वेतपत्र जारी गर्नुपर्छ। यसको जानकारी आम सर्वसाधारणलाई दिनुपर्छ।’
आर्थिक, सामाजिक क्षेत्रमा असर परेको जानकारी श्वेतपत्रमा उल्लेख गरेपछि जनताले पनि दैनिक जीवनयापनका विकल्पबारे सोच्न सक्ने अधिकारीको धारणा छ। समस्या समयमै समाधान गर्नतर्फ नसोच्ने हो भने मुलुकबाट पुँजी पलायनको डरलाग्दो समस्या उत्पन्न हुने भन्दै उनले नेपाली लगानीकर्ताले तत्कालका लागि अन्यत्र लगानी नलगे पनि नेपालमा लगानी गर्न तयार विदेशी कम्पनीले आफ्नो लगानी अन्य मुलुकमा लैजान सक्छन्।
नेपाल राष्ट्रबैकका पूर्वगभर्नर दीपेन्द्रबहादुर क्षत्रीले नाकाबन्दीको असर भौतिक र मनोवैज्ञानिक हुने बताए। ‘मनोवैज्ञानिक असर दीर्घकालीन किसिमको हुन्छ,’ उनले भने, ‘मनोवैज्ञानिक असर गैरआर्थिक लाग्ला तर त्यसको प्रभाव आर्थिक रुपमा पनि प्रत्यक्ष रुपमा पर्छ। जस्तो हामीले औषधिमा ३०/४० प्रतिशत आत्मनिर्भर भयौं भन्यौं तर त्यही औषधि उत्पादन गर्न चाहिने कच्चा पदार्थ भारतबाट ल्याउँछौं। औषधि उत्पादनमा पनि नाकाबन्दीको असर देखिन थालिसक्यो। ठूला अस्पतालका सघन उपचार कक्षमै उपचार दिन नसक्ने अवस्था भइसक्यो। उपचारै गर्न नसक्ने अवस्था भएपछि त्यसको असर कस्तो पर्ला?’
नाकाबन्दीले कालोबजारियालाई भने मस्त मौका मिलेको उनले बताए। नाकाबन्दीका नामले इन्धनको मात्रै होइन, दैनिक उपभोग्यदेखि सबैजसो सामानमा कालोबजारी गरिएको उनले बताए। ‘सरकार कमजोर भएर यस्तो भएको छ भनेर सर्वसाधारणले भन्या छन्,’ क्षत्रीले भने, ‘सरकारप्रति जनताको यस्तो अविश्वासले त हाम्रो सार्वभौमिकतालाई नै जोखिममा पर्छजस्तो छ।’

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Economy bleeds as blockade continues

Nepal's economy is bleeding blue as the stand-off between government and Tarai-Madhesh centric political parties, and India lingers. Fecklessness on the part of both government and Tarai-Madhesh centric parties is pushing the situation toward the brink.
With the Madhes in turmoil since the last 80 days, importers have been incurring huge demurrage charges at Kolkata port, the key route for Nepal's third country trade. The importers have been paying Rs 40 million per day as demurrage charge at Kolkata port, according to president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Pashupati Murarka. He also claimed that the country is losing Rs 2 billion per day due to the unrest and the government's politics first policy. "The country has already lost Rs 160 billion in these days," he said.
Likewise, the government has lost Rs 25 billion in revenue in the first three months of the current fiscal year as the revenue mobilisation has dropped by 10.22 per cent compared to the same period last fiscal year, mainly due to plunge in customs mobilisation, according to the Revenue Division under the Finance Ministry. "The government has lost Rs 1 billion in vehicle tax alone."
The government had aimed at 12 per cent revenue growth for the current fiscal year as against last fiscal year. But the government has been able to mobilise only Rs 75.66 billion against the target of Rs 95.78 billion – a shortfall of 21 per cent – in the first three months.
It is mainly due to low customs revenue and value added tax (VAT), the major contributors to government coffers," thee division explained, adding that VAT mobilisation dropped by 26.43 per cent to Rs 23.58 billion against the target of Rs 32.06 billion. "VAT mobilisation is 16.41 per cent less than last fiscal year's same period," the figures further revealed.
The blockade by India has hit the customs the most as customs mobilisation stood at Rs 13.63 billion – which is a drop by 26.7 per cent compared to the same period last fiscal year – against the government's target of Rs 18.32 billion in customs revenue for the first three months of the fiscal year.
Similarly, banks and financial institutions could have lent Rs 1 billion in a working day in an average, had there been no unrest and bandhs. However, the Tarai-Madhes unrest has crippled their lending capacity, according to Nepal Bankers Association (NBA) president Upendra Poudel. "The banks and financial institutions could have lent at least Rs 70 billion in the last 80 days," he said, adding that they have not been able to lend due to loss of confidence by borrowers, and this will have a cascading impact on the economy. "The sloth in lending will not only hit the banks and financial institutions themselves but shrink the economy also."
Central bank has warned of low economic growth due to the ungoing unrest and blockade that has hit not only the trade and transit, but also contracted the economy.
According to senior economist Prof Dr Bishwambher Pyakuryal, Nepal is facing a unique combination of economic collapse and is moving toward a failed state. "Hyper inflation – due to supply side constraints because of the blockade – falling production, and private sector's loss of confidence have pushed the country toward a failed state," he said, adding that the situation has aggreviated also due to communication-gap between the citizens and the government. "It seems as if there is no government in this country, the economist said, adding that the people are in queue for petroleum products since more than a month, and the government has no clue when it can supply essential products to its populace. "It has created a huge trust deficit on government, which will lead to a question of legitimacy of the government resulting in a failed state," he added.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

नेपालीको क्रयशक्ति घट्दै, गरिबी बढ्दै

भारतले एक महिना अघिदेखि गरेको नाकाबन्दीका कारण नेपालीको क्रयशक्ति घटेको छ। नाकाबन्दीले निश्चित आम्दनी भएका, दैनिक ज्यालादारी तथा करारमा रहेका कामदारले आम्दानी मात्र गुमाएका छैनन्, चर्को मूल्यमा उपभोग्य वस्तु खरिद गर्न पनि उनीहरू बाध्य छन्।
आपूर्तिजन्य अवरोधका कारणले पेट्रोलियम पदार्थ तथा दैनिक उपभोग्य अत्यावश्यक वस्तु तथा सेवा उपलब्ध नहुँदा एकातिर मूल्यवृद्धि भएको छ भने अर्कोतिर निश्चित आम्दानी भएका, दैनिक ज्यालादारी तथा करारमा रहेका कामदारहरू काम नपाएर बेरोजगार हुनाले उनीहरूको आम्दानी घटेको छ। पूर्व अर्थसचिव रामेश्वर खनालका अनुसार यी दुवै कारणले नेपालीको क्रयशक्ति घटेको छ।
त्यस्तै, आपूर्तिजन्य अवरोधका कारण बजारमा कालोबजारी झन् बढेको छ। साधारण नागरिक हाल एक लिटर पेट्रोललाई ५ सय रुपैयाँसम्म तिर्न बाध्य छन्। त्यस्तै, व्यवसायीहरूले एक सिलिन्डर खाना पकाउने ग्यासलाई १० हजार रुपैयाँसम्म तिरेर पनि होटल सञ्चालन गरिरहेका छन्।
पूर्व अर्थसचिव खनालका अनुसार भूकम्पले विनाश भएका भौतिक संरचना त फेरि बनाउन सकिछ, तर हालको नाकाबन्दीले भने समग्र रूपमा नेपालीको आम्दानी घटाएको छ। 'लम्बिँदो नाकाबन्दीले गरिबीको रेखामुनि रहेको वर्ग सबैभन्दा बढी पीडित भएका छन्,' खनालले भने, 'भर्खर गरिबीको रेखाबाट माथि उठेको वर्ग पनि नाकाबन्दी कारण फेरि गरिबीको रेखामुनि झर्छ।'
आपूर्तिजन्य समस्या तत्काल समाधान भएर बजारमा वस्तु सहज रूपमा पाइन थाले पनि रोजगारी गुमाएकाहरूले तत्काल रोजगारी पाउने सम्भावना कम रहेकाले भारतको नाकाबन्दीले अर्थतन्त्रलाई दीर्घकालीन रूपमा अपूरणीय क्षति भएको खनालको भनाइ छ।
राजनीतिक नेतृत्व पूर्ण रूपमा बहिरो र अन्धो भएकाले विगत १०–१५ वर्षदेखिका योजना तथा रेमिटेन्सले धानेको अर्थतन्त्र विस्तारै 'कोल्याप्स' हुने बाटोतिर गइरहेको र देश असफल राष्ट्रतिर उन्मुख भएको वरिष्ठ अर्थशास्त्री विश्वम्भर प्याकुरेलको विश्लेषण छ। आपूर्तिजन्य समस्याले जनताको दैनिक जीवन संकटमा पर्दा पनि सरकार कानमा तेल हालेर बसेको भन्दै उनले सरकारको वैधानिकताको पनि संकट रहेको बताए।
'आपूर्तिजन्य समस्याका कारण बढ्दो मूल्यवृद्धि, घट्दो उत्पादकत्व तथा सरकारको वैधानिकताको संकटले नेपाल असफल राष्ट्रतर्फ उन्मुख भएको छ,' उनले भने, 'सरकारले जनतामा विश्वासको वातावरण बनाउन पनि सकेको छैन।'
यस्तै, तराई–मधेसकेन्द्रित दलद्वारा गरिएको आन्दोलनले तराई–मधेसमै चरम गरिबी बढ्ने देखिन्छ। प्याकुरेलका अनुसार स्रोतसाधनलाई बजारमा लगेर बेचेपछि मात्र त्यसले मूल्य प्राप्त गर्दछ। तर हालको आन्दोलनले तराई–मधेसका उत्पादनले पनि बजार नपाएकाले त्यहाँका जनता झन् गरिबीको चपेटामा पर्ने निश्चित छ। विश्व बैंकका अनुसार हाल नेपाल दक्षिण एसियामा तेस्रो गरिब मुलुक हो तर वैशाखको शक्तिशाली भूकम्प तथा हालको नाकाबन्दीले नेपाल दक्षिण एसियाकै सबैभन्दा गरिब मुलुक हुने सम्भावना बढेको पनि उनले बताए।
यसैगरी, भूकम्पले ७ खर्ब ५० अर्ब तथा हालको नाकाबन्दीले करिब त्यत्तिकै बराबरको क्षति भएको भन्दै उनले यी दुई घटनाले नेपालको अर्थतन्त्र बराबरको क्षति भएको बताए।
'नेपालको समग्र अर्थतन्त्रमा काठमाडौंको योगदान ३० प्रतिशत रहेकाले पनि हालको नाकाबन्दीले काठमाडौं बढी प्रभावित हुँदा देशको समग्र अर्थतन्त्रमै यसको असर पर्छ,' प्याकुरेलले भने।
नाकाबन्दीका कारण सिर्जित दैनिक उपभोग्य वस्तुको अभावदेखि घट्दो उत्पादन, अर्थतन्त्रमा दीर्घकालीन प्रभाव पार्ने राष्ट्रिय गौरवका आयोजनाको काम ठप्प, शिक्षा र स्वास्थ्य जस्ता मानवीय सम्पत्तिमा नकारात्मक प्रभावले दीर्घकालीन रूपमा अर्थतन्त्रको ढाड भाँच्ने राष्ट्रिय योजना आयोगका पूर्व सदस्य चन्दमणि अधिकारी बताउँछन्। 'नेपालले भारतप्रति अर्थिक तथा राजनीतिक रूपमा बढी नै निर्भर भएर सन्तुलित सम्बन्ध राख्न नसकेकाले अर्थतन्त्र धरासायी भएको छ,' उनले भने।