Development Fillip


Sluggish pace of development in Nepal has become a perennial problem. One major factor bedeviling our development endeavours is the chronic problem of a meagre capital expenditure. And the problem has become so pervasive that it continues to dampen optimism, contributing to the exodus of youths for foreign employment or for better living standards. In the recent meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR), lawmakers of various political parties expressed their concerns about the frustratingly slow pace of various development projects and the poor capital expenditure and drew the government's attention to the issues that need to be addressed urgently. 

Among those featuring prominently were the challenges facing federalism and worrying enlisting of Nepali youths in the Russian Army (RA). Some even went as far as questioning the utility of the provinces, implying that the new exercise in federalism have yielded far fewer results than expected. Amid such accusations and growing frustrations, the government must come up with satisfying answers to silence the mounting criticisms. What drives Nepalis to enroll themselves in the RA when the grave risks are so palpable? If there were plentiful jobs at home paying enough to live a decent life, of course, no one in his/her sane mind would like to go abroad, risking their lives and leaving their family behind. 

Why aren't we creating enough jobs? Because abysmally low capital expenditure deprives the economy of the money critical to breathe life into the market. That said, we must appreciate the government's concrete steps to prevent more Nepalis from veering into the harm's way, which seems to have started working. The chorus of calls for the government to bring the remains of the fallen Nepalis in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is getting increasingly louder, so that the families could give them the last final rites to their kin. To prove it's serious about addressing people's urgent issues, the government must show it has left no stone unturned to bring home their mortal remains.        

That so many of our countrymen are so desperate to leave for foreign countries hints at the paucity of jobs here and demands measures be taken to stop this. Starting with addressing problems of the construction industry, which has been in the doldrums for long now, can be a step in the right direction. That's crucial because the industrial sector's ability to create jobs is hardly matched by any other. The depth of the problem facing the industry is reflected in the falling demand for cement at a time when cement industry has emerged to be one of our strengths with the achievement of self-sufficiency in its production. 

Faced with non-payment issues, several construction companies say they are unable to go ahead with further work for lack of the payment for the work they completed long ago or are staring at bankruptcy. The government must step in to rescue the industry from the brink of collapse and inject a dose of confidence into them. And doing exactly that is easier than many might think. First and foremost, there should be no further delays in paying what is owed to them. Flooding the money into the construction of roads and public structures in decrepit state, which are in dire need of makeover, is the next step that surely works wonders to raise people's confidence in the economy.   

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