We have entered 2022 yet under the shadow of the pandemic, delicately navigating health and economy as a nation that has also been facing growing corruption, poor politics, and policies shrouded in ambiguity over many, many years.
If the pandemic is to continue to mutate and bring onset of waves, it will not be surprising if countries turn inwards adopting a ‘every country to itself’ or ‘domestic first’ stance. In which case, it is a no brainer that Nepal must have a dynamic economic master plan and a foreign economic strategy that does not put it in the centre of multiple crises.
With no clear end in sight for the pandemic, what then is required is a focused government approach that takes the prospect of bigger disruptions in the future into account. This is a time that requires effective interventions, clear policies and efficient leadership.
With millions of household budgets in the red, growing inflation, likely shortages of essential commodities, dismal financial outlook, rising national debt, economy burdened by lopsided balance of payments, liquidity crunch, how we navigate the third wave will tell us a lot about the days to come. The onus lies with a government that is painfully focused on the upcoming elections.
A precarious tightrope between keeping the economy running to its full potential, creating jobs and economic opportunities and ensuring healthcare for all will require a coordinated approach between multiple stakeholders including the private sector of the country.
In these challenging times, there is new and vigorous leadership in the biggest apex business organisations of the country – FNCCI and CNI. They represent a shift in culture of doing business with a deeper understanding of the benefits of accountability and cooperation, and represent a younger and more global school of business thought. The idea is however to have the government and bureaucracy work closely to facilitate them rather than walk the known path of buying political favours by a very few. If continued unabated, the consequences will only be devastating.
Reality is that we need a political breakthrough, and we need it now.