Things could not have been worse for the private sector considered to be vital for economic growth. With the ‘death’ of the Constituent Assembly (CA), prospects look bleak for the economy. The entrepreneurs were looking forward to safeguarding their investments in a congenial climate after a new constitution. The country has been in a transition period for some time now, a period marked by conflict and insecurity. It was difficult for investors to feel comfortable about the security of their investments. Due to the prevailing political instability and deteriorating law and order situation the industrial sector was among the first to suffer. Power outages and labour unrest took a heavy toll. The industries as a result had to close or operate below capacity. This was a big blow to employment as private sector generates the most employment. The dissolution of the CA was again a big letdown for the investors, both domestic and foreign, who were eagerly looking forward to making investments in the country, and this development came as a big disappointment for them. Now that the drafting of the new constitution has been postponed, the investors cannot afford to wait to invest as a result of which they will look elsewhere to make them and, therefore, the country stands to lose.
Lacking employment opportunities, many youths opt to go abroad in search of greener pastures. No doubt, remittances have become a major chunk of earnings, but for how long can we afford to depend on them. Besides, it is a tragedy that the youths are leaving because with this we would not be able to undertake developmental activities so essential to enhance the living standard of the people, many of whom live below the poverty line. The tourism sector was doing strong but now even this is flattering with many cancellations coming from tourists who no longer want to come here given the situation the country is in. Thus, the outlook is not very bright for the country considering the predicament it is now saddled with.
Meanwhile, amidst all the upheavals there was a government plan of procuring Rs. 300 billion foreign investment in the year 2012-13, declared as the Nepal Investment Year. As things stand now, it is difficult to believe that this will be realized. After all one has to be realistic. Still it was not a bad idea in the first place, although now the whole thing looks a bit too ambitious. Talking about lack of funds, the government has not been able to spend even 50 per cent of the budget allocated for the development projects. This is indeed a tragedy for the fund set aside for these works have not been utilized and we are already in the third quarter of the fiscal year. In the end, the private sector must take hope from repeated assurances that a climate will be made for investments. Again the revenue collection is also to be expedited and the VAT fraud also will be dealt with. Here it must be stressed that it would not be good for the country in the long run to depend on foreign aid and grants. The country should be able to mobilize its own revenue to expedite the development projects, but it is indeed pathetic that it has not able to do so.
The demolition campaign has resumed in Pokhara, a popular touristic hub. This drive had been halted due to frequent bandhs. The authorities plan to demolish the illegal structures built on encroached land. It is said that the campaign has worked wonders and the Lakeside looks much better now. The campaign was started five months ago. The beauty of the demolition campaign is that it is participated in by locals too. However, it ought to be noted that bringing down the illegal structures alone is not the purpose of the campaign. Now that the rainy season is approaching, unless the debris are removed, the footpaths and roads would be full of slush making walking difficult for pedestrians.
Therefore, the campaign should be carried out full swing so that the construction works too are completed within the given timeframe. Meanwhile, once the demolition campaign and construction works are completed it is expected that the vehicular traffic would be smoother without traffic jams. The drive should be a sustained one and carried to the end. Such campaigns are also being carried out in other cities. These should be well managed and not carried out on an ad hoc basis as it is found to be now.