With continued economic uncertainty and warnings of recession amid record high inflation, the steps that leaders take the world over will decide the future course of humanity. Nepal is no exception. Government actions and policies will decide the outcome for the country to get out of the shadows of a looming economic crisis.
The best minds are required to come together to strategise beyond the policy tightening aimed at controlling foreign currency expenditure, bank mergers aimed at mitigating worsening financial conditions, and measures to address continued global market disruptions and geopolitical frictions. The mindset needs to shift considerably, with the ability to look beyond the obvious and have multiple action plans aimed to navigate the challenging economic landscape. Key words to note here are resilience, affordability and sustainability.
Populist actions must be set aside to engage in meaningful programmes and actions. Illogical government spending on so-called pride projects must have accountability and transparency at its centre to deliver on the usability of the project. Leaders must focus on developing agendas for trade, growth and investment not wasting public funds on their political agendas. We stand in the midst of a possible wave of Covid 19 new variant spread even as it is being reported that 40 lakh doses of Covid 19 vaccine may just go to waste as it nears expiration. They say justice delayed is justice denied, but here worse transpires with the rule of law being flexed to accommodate power sharing; laws that are applicable to the common man are not applied to politicians.
We talk about infrastructure, energy and IT in rhetoric but what are the policies to back up investment. SMEs are burdened beyond capacity under loans that they may never be able to pay back. Job cuts are in the pipeline even for well-established corporate houses now reportedly under financial distress. Flights are packed with young people looking for a sense of stability and livelihood on foreign shores. Media businesses are shrinking in news coverage and their inability to pay staff. The empty buildings and the number of to-let signs are an indication that retail and trade is slumping.
Government is building mindless coalitions between themselves and short-stay ministers are busy attending functions as chief guests instead of doing what they are meant to, while bureaucracy is on wait and watch mode and stays ineffectual. Global experts expect persistent volatility and further shocks over the next two years. What are we doing? What is the plan?