What the country needs now is development. It could be in any sector, but it must ensure that the nation’s economy has to be stronger and the people must have the right to live in a secure environment. How is it that other nations with much lesser natural resources have gone on to become economic tigers? Nepal has natural resources that are envied even by other much richer countries. We must utilise our strength and this depends a lot on the individuals who are at the policy making level. Their vision and planning could change the country of this face.
Right now, none less than the World Bank has issued a warning that the year 2023 will be a difficult one for virtually all nations of the world. Nepal is at present at a vulnerable stage economically, if not politically, so we must be prepared in advance to face any difficulties that the nation may have to face soon. This can be done with better planning and much homework of the individuals at different ministries and departments. The rhetoric is there, but the ‘talk should also be made to walk’.
That the new Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel has requested the World Bank to increase its assistance to Nepal is credible. According to a news report in The Rising Nepal, DPM Poudel has ‘requested the Bank to increase its budgetary aid’ in a meeting with Faris Hardad Zervos, the head of the Bank in Kathmandu besides other regional countries. DPM Poudel has urged the World Bank to help Nepal as ‘the Ministry of Finance will play an effective role in completing the necessary preliminary task for the allocation and receipt of budgetary assistance from the World Bank in the current financial year’.
There is no doubt that the World Bank is a benevolent organisation which provides aid to many least developed countries like Nepal, but it must also be realised that it puts harsh conditions before making any monetary deals with such countries. After all, it is also a bank, like any other banks we see. This is where our policy makers and planners should come up with better vision and ensure that the nation and the general public will not suffer in spite of the fact that we receive huge loans or even grants from international organisations.
But to move away from this topic and come back to our main theme of how the nation has to be developed, it is comforting to hear many experts now talking about the basic needs of the people besides putting forth ambitious plans, which may sound sweet to the ears, but which will not make much difference to the general public. This is what the friendly countries which have been contributing generously to Nepal should also realise and they must put their funds for basic needs first before talking of other schemes which the people understand we must have, but not before their own right to existence is secure.
Like this author has said time and again, we need all forms of democracy and the facilities it provides, but that will mean nothing if the people don’t have basic facilities which are taken for granted in most developed nations. That is why it has to be emphasised again and again, that policy makers must never forget this aspect of the country’s needs.
A few days back TRN reported that a person had been appointed as the head of the National Planning Commission. He reportedly is a very learned man and also a veteran in the Commission. He surely also has a good team of equally competent people to help the Commission form policies for the betterment of the country.
However, here this author would like to again strongly say that this team must also be able to convince the leaders at the top, that besides long term policies, the needs of the general masses for a proper day to day existence must also be looked after. No one can absolutely deny the fact that the people are enjoying all the freedom that they are getting like citizens of most democratic countries of the world, however, their needs for things like access to good education, better health facilities, clean drinking water, good roads and a stable economy, among other things, must also be taken into consideration.
Yes, we know that remittance from thousands of Nepalis working abroad is boosting the country’s economy, but it should not be forgotten that millions are also being spent by students seeking education and ill people seeking better health facilities abroad. This is not only draining the much needed foreign currency of an import-based nation, but it is also contributing in the loss of youths who are needed here. Right now, it is reported by the media that many parts of the country does not have skilled manpower or young workers who could contribute immensely in different sectors especially in agriculture. Therefore, what the country wants right now is concrete development which will provide both employment opportunities and also a strong economy.
In one way, Nepal is very fortunate that it has many friends all across the world, which have earnestly extended their hands for help whenever they feel they can contribute for this country’s development. So like appealed by DPM Poudel, we can also receive aid from the World Bank and other such institutions. But what we must not forget is that such boost for the economy of the nation must be for a short term period. In the end we must learn to develop this naturally gifted nation on our own strength and this is what the leaders, planners and other policy makers must have in mind, so that there should be a strong economy, stability and no manpower drain and create a nation in which all the people can live in peace and prosperity.
(Yug Baadur is a freelancer.)