Kathmandu: Rising inflation. Ingrained corruption. Poor service delivery. Worsening economic scenario. And, growing frustration.
Overall, the country is in deep trouble.
Nepali Congress leader Dr Shekhar Koirala, speaking at the House of Representatives on Sunday, painted a bleak picture of the country’s economy and claimed that the Nepal’s political system has already witnessed the first step of failure.
“The country is witnessing new waves of unimaginable political conflict in various forms. There is a risk to the federal democratic republic. The serious debate has started on the worsening economic situation of the country,” he said. “We cannot shy away from our responsibilities while the country is going through deep trouble. We should take responsibility. Morally, we should realize that we should find solutions to the existing problems.”
Indicating the deviation of politicians from standard norms and values [of democracy], he said: “If our behaviors are not compatible with the political system, our achievements remain at risk.”
“Parliament is not just a place of number game, parliament should be a place of trust and hope for 30 million Nepalis. Majority of the population has complained that the change in the political system could not change their situation. Will we take this seriously or not?,” he questioned.
“There is growing frustration about federalism and provincial structure due to our own past weaknesses. This indicates that our political system has witnessed the first stage of failure,” he claimed.
Dr Koirala was equally concerned about the bad governance and poor service delivery. As I am delivering my thoughts at the respected house, the faces of those farmers who often face the problem of scarcity of chemical fertilizer come to my mind, he said. The faces of youths who are leaving for Malaysia and Middle East countries for employment come to my mind, he continued. Those youths who are risking their lives to get a visa to Europe, Australia, USA and other corners of the world for quality education and employment comes to my mind. “When will we start reforms keeping these people at the center? This is the main question of our time,” he said.
Raising the issue of the worsening economic condition of the country, Dr Koirala said, “I have found that entrepreneurs are frustrated now.” “It is a sign that the country is severely ill as the youth forces are trying to leave the country while business communities are feeling helpless.”
Referring to the recently released census report which showed that one-third of the working age population are unemployed, he asked: “What could be more worrisome than this?”
He also requested the government to win the trust of people. “The trust of people is more important than the number in the parliament for the continuity of the government,” he said. “There is a gap of more than Rs 200 billion between our revenue mobilization and expenditure. We are in the position to take loans not only for capital but also for recurrent expenditure.”
He requested the government and all political parties to follow the austerity measures and implement the reports by different committees to minimize the unproductive expenditure to save the economy.
“The trouble can be fixed,” he said while adding that all cabinet ministers, including the prime minister, should stand high on moral ground. He further said that the democracy cannot be upheld without igniting the environment of hopes and trust among people while urging the concerned parties to take immediate measures for the economic reforms.