New Year 2080

Focus On Good Governance, Prosperity

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The decade of BS 2070 slipped away with the advent of 2080 in Nepal. As the new decade dawns, it is time to reflect on the need of the country and the population so as to progress and move towards prosperity and wellbeing. This decade witnessed two local and two national elections under the federal setup. The provincial governments have started exercising their governance, executive and judiciary roles. Elected government saw a series of change in the governments due to clash between the different factions of coalition government manly focusing around power struggle. There was also controversy related to the judiciary, and episodes of corruption scandals that were exposed. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and affected Nepal like everywhere. 

It reversed a lot of development works like the increase in girl education and literacy; and now, based on various research studies, it is speculated that more than 50 per cent girls from low income families will be out of school by the end of the pandemic. This is expected to have an adverse impact on the progress of the country both in the development and economic sectors. However, as one decade slipped away and a new one has dawned, there are also some positive news of the economic indicators climbing up, which can be supported now by implementing policies that are proactive towards prosperity. 

Right way

In order to make the decade of 2080 a success, there is a need to focus on good governance, which is about achieving desired results in the right way. What is the “right way”? It largely depends on the cultural norms and values of the community, provinces and the nation at large. There is a need for governance anytime a group of people called stakeholders come together to accomplish end results.  It is the process through which this group of people make decisions that direct their collective efforts.  Stakeholders are the people and groups with an interest, or ‘stake’, in the success of whatever agenda that group of people undertakes. Governance is required within government structures, institutions, organisations and within homes.

The right way of good governance is usually steered by the value system of the place and the people who have the authority of taking decisions. The main focus should be the wellbeing of the stakeholders. While talking about the good governance of countries, it is obvious that a government is elected and sent by the people with a mandate of helping them get their rights and lead safe, healthy and prosperous lives for all citizens. Based on the policies made and directed by them, as per the constitution of the country, the executive needs to implement and ensure that the population gets what is ensured for them. 

In the corporate sector, governance is actually a process by which a board of directors, through its management, guides an institution in fulfilling its corporate mission and protects the institution’s assets over time.  A board of directors is established to provide oversight and give direction to the managers of their institution. The term ‘governing’ applied to a board of directors refers to its legal right to exercise authority over an institution, and its system or process for managing the board’s affairs. Fundamental to effective governance is the ability of individual directors to work together to accomplish a balance between strategic and operational responsibilities. 

Effective governance occurs when a board is able to provide guidance to management in strategic issues and is effective in overseeing management to implement the strategic plan, goals and initiatives. The management assumes operational authority and ensures that the institutions’ programme of activities responds to the direction jointly agreed upon with the board. Both sets of priorities are required to successfully navigate an institution through its short and long term growth.  The challenge of governance is to employ the perspectives and experiences of the board and management to maximise their overall contribution to the institution’s performance.

Although a country is not run or governed by corporate principles, the time may now be right for policy makers to reflect a bit on how successful corporates all over the world are able to succeed in achieving their goals and growth more than what they may have planned. Governments are elected by the people with specific mandates. So based on this, the elected government needs to ensure they have the right people in the right place to lead the country towards progress. Just like the success of any corporate sector lies in the financial planning and budgeting, a country’s budget and financial planning is also crucial in indicating which direction the nation is headed towards. 

Exorbitant expenses

There have been ample examples of big commercial banks and corporate sector industries going down the drain due to several reasons including exorbitant perks and salary given to the directors and chief executives. If profit making organisations need to learn from this and cut on their unnecessary expenses, governments of countries like Nepal also need to look at all loopholes within their system to cut down exorbitant expenses and ensure that they plan well in advance to address the possibility of reverse development and economic growth because of the COVID 19 impact.

As the government has started their operation in the decade of 2080, it’s important to ensure that education, health and livelihoods of the people do not face the brunt of the pandemic. The digital services can be used to help the government in implementing proper education and health services in all nooks and corners of the country.  It can also be used to help people manage and start livelihood opportunities by utilising the natural and human resources within their local areas. Wishing all my readers a very happy new year and a new decade 2080. 

(Namrata Sharma is a journalist and women rights activist namrata1964@yahoo.com Twitter handle: @NamrataSharmaP)

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