In his address to nation, Oli counts, once again, his government's achievementsAmid the scare of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, the prime minister, however, stopped short of elaborating the immediate measures his administration is planning to take to contain the virus.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli addressed the nation on Wednesday on the occasion of Nepali New Year 2078.
In the televised address, Oli spent much of time counting the achievements and work of his government.
Pointing out the government’s positive policies in battling the coronavirus pandemic, Oli claimed that the country suffered fewer losses in terms of lives and economy.
“There were many assumptions regarding the disease from the beginning. However, the government’s priority was to save the lives of people. Schools, industries, even if they were closed for some time could run in the future if we can save people,” said Oli. "Keeping that in mind, the government worked to control the spread of the virus and because of our good policies we didn’t fail.”
Experts over the past year, however, have blamed the government for failing to learn from past mistakes and focus on basics, like testing, tracing and treating.
Oli's address comes amid fears of a second wave of virus transmissions, and more children are being affected this time, causing concern among doctors and public health experts.
Nepal so far has reported 3,058 deaths due to the coronavirus. After a dramatic decline in the number of cases, infections have surged lately.
The pandemic last year resulted in an economic slump and job losses.
Oli, however, said the past year must be viewed as a year of success despite it being mired by the pandemic.
“We were able to gain good agriculture growth and the government tried to bring back balance in the trade deficit and were able to close the deficit gap to some extent last year,” said Oli.
Nepal’s economy though is on the road to recovery now, it took a massive beating last year due to the pandemic and saw a negative growth.
The Central Bureau of Statistics said last month that in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year 2019-20, ending mid-July, the country’s economic growth rate, or output of the gross domestic product, plunged 15.4 percent compared to the same period in 2018-19, which resulted in a year-on-year negative growth rate of 1.99 percent.
Oli pointed out various completed and ongoing construction and development works taking place across the country as the government’s achievements in the past year.
“There were rumours from various sides that the government has done nothing in the past year but we remained focused and concluded various development projects including constructions of international meeting halls, roads, schools, and hospitals among others,” said Oli, adding that the government was successful in adding five-and-a-half kilometres of roadways, 12 housings, one suspension bridge every day.
Oli said that over 3 million people were benefiting under the eight different social security schemes and an additional 500,000 people have been included in the list.
“I have already mentioned this before that the government will announce an increment in the social security through the upcoming budget,” said Oli.
The prime minister also praised the National Reconstruction Authority for their outstanding works while pointing out the completion of reconstruction works of Rani Pokhari.
“We reconstructed and inaugurated Rani Pokhari in the past year and after 10 days we will inaugurate the iconic Dharahara,” said Oli.
Oli further said that the government was able to bring in strong ordinances regarding acid attack and rape-murder while it was working to end chaupadi and witchcraft allegations.
“But some political parties are not letting the Parliament function and we haven’t been able to table the ordinances,” said Oli. “It is the same with the agreement on Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal compact which was signed when the Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre were in the government. It has not been tabled at the Parliament for endorsement despite our government sending the agreement to the Parliament.”
Pointing out the pandemic’s effect on Nepal’s tourism sector, the prime minister said that the government was not in favour of lockdown.
“We must remain safe from Covid-19 and follow safety protocols. The government is not in favour of another lockdown,” said Oli. “But we must keep in mind that various countries in the world have been forced to go on lockdowns with the resurgence of the virus. We want to opt for other means including awareness among ourselves to control the spread of the disease.”