‘Country has ample untapped potentials to prosper rapidly’Embarking on the path of progress and prosperity should be the only way forward to the country which has taken a historical stride towards settling political issues, especially after the promulgation of the new constitution, stressed speakers at a discussion programme here on Monday.
Embarking on the path of progress and prosperity should be the only way forward to the country which has taken a historical stride towards settling political issues, especially after the promulgation of the new constitution, stressed speakers at a discussion programme here on Monday.
Speaking at the first episode of the Barbara Adams Talk Series on “Rapid Economic Transformation in Nepal: What will take and where do we stand?” panellists representing politicians, development experts and bureaucrats, asserted that the country is presented with ample opportunities if tapped well.
Calling the available opportunities ‘low hanging fruits’ former health minister and parliamentarian Gagan Thapa said, “There are several avenues where the country can progress. One of them can be manufacturing sector. Economic transformation is a long process and should start immediately. It won’t happen one fine morning.”
However, the mainstreaming of development agendas and governance should start within the political parties, Thapa.
“Discussion on development and good governance should start from within the political parties, an area where political parties are running behind,” added Thapa.
UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said the country has permanently resolved all the political issues for at least a century, which were earlier obstacles for prosperity.
“After spending more than five decades on political issues, the time has come to march forward on the path of economic transformation,” said Bhattarai.
According to him, the country is at the point of historical shift from politics to development driven discussions which have come to dominate political parties’ agendas.
“Despite parties’ differences in their pathways, our common destination is prosperity through economic transformation,” he said.
Panellists, however, also agreed that the journey ahead would not be smooth as there are challenges ahead.
Commenting on the nexus and blame game between political parties and bureaucracy, former secretary of Nepal Government Krishna Gyawali said there should be mutual trust and support among each other.
“If we wait for political stability for development then our sufferings will be endless. We should not look up to politics for development,” said Gyawali.
On corruption and efficiency of the bureaucracy former secretary Gyawali said, “Capability and efficiency of bureaucracy has surely enhanced over the years. However, high expectation, indiscipline and doubt on their own abilities drive them to choose other options. Dishonest intention is behind corruption among bureaucrats.
Speaking at the event, organised by the Barbara Peace Foundation, National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice-chair Swarnim Wagle suggested a complete overhauling of the NPC was required to make it more efficient.
Decoding the NPC literally, Wagle said, “NPC is called national but it is fragmented. Its mandates and structure are fragmented. It mostly pushes forward plans proposed by ministries after slight modification, which says it’s not even planning. As a commission, its appointed commissioners or responsible person cannot exercise executive role and take forward his mandates.”
Responding on Nepal’s progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, Wagle said the country has ‘conditional targets’ that depends on several factors like political stability and better governances.
“We have a tentative work plan for meeting SDGs and its targets. However, we have to be practical. We should not sell the dreams of Singapore and Switzerland,” he said, adding, “If we maintain a sustained growth rate of 7-8 percent and perform exceptionally well, then we will reach at the level of today’s Sri Lanka whereas faltering will take us close to today’s Bhutan.”
According to Wagle, the country has taken positive strides towards politics, inclusion, education, health and social security, but still struggles in assuring quality of the services rendered.
Both politicians Thapa and Bhattarai admitted that the political parties have yet to allocate space within parties for those having expertise in development issues, but said the situation is improving gradually.
“Different set of expertise and skills are required to run the government affairs. This is another area where gap exists in political parties,” observed Thapa.