The first two-day National Economists Conference concluded in the capital on Saturday. Addressing the opening of the conference on the theme “The cornerstone of building an independent, prosperous and socialism oriented economy,” former finance minister and Nepali Congress central member Prakash Sharan Mahat stressed on the need for rapid development of service sector including tourism to expedite economic progress of the country.
Mahat pointed out the need to identify new areas by diversifying tourism rather than focusing in traditional market. He said that the government’s policy to pursuing single window system in industry has not been implemented in practice and entrepreneurs have to go through many processes while establishing a new industry. He stressed on the need to simplify the process of industry registration to increase foreign investment in the country. He called for establishing various industries within the country so that a situation in which thousands of youths have to go abroad in search of jobs would come to an end.
CPN-UML leader Ghanshyam Bhusal, said that remittances have become the biggest source of revenue for the government, adding that government employees were being paid with the money received from remittances. There has been a tendency among us to import Gadi (vehicle) and Sari for the past three and a half decades by spending the hard earned money of remittance, Bhushal said in a sarcastic remarks. He argued that the control of private sector in capital should be reduced and socialism should be introduced to bring the capital under the country of the state for the welfare of the people. There is an urgent need to change the present functioning of the government for the welfare of the people and it is not clear who would lead such a change. He expressed the view that economists have to understand politics and politicians have to understand economics in order to bring about prosperity in the country.
It is not possible to bring change in the society and the country unless we change the thinking of the politicians and the political parties, pointed out Bhusal. Rejecting the notion that development of Mahat’s service sector should benefit the people, he said that we need employment-oriented development and not service-oriented.
The national capital would be created only if we work towards generating more employment, he said adding by focusing only on service sector we would only lead to feudalism.
Chief Guest Finance Minister Janardan Sharma expressed the view that inequality, unemployment, low capital expenditure, high trade deficit, weak infrastructure, import-oriented economy are the characteristics of Nepal’s economy. He noted that the war in Ukraine has given a blow to the world economy, which was struggling to recover from the effects of the corona pandemic. It would result in hike in the prices of oil, edible oil and iron, he added. As Nepal has been suffering from hike in the price of petroleum products and edible oil due to the of the Ukraine war, there is a need to bring overall reform in the economic sector, he said adding active cooperation of the people is also needed to improve the situation..
President of the National Federation of Cooperatives, Min Bahadur Kandel, said that cooperatives have been playing an important role in the national economy by providing direct employment to one hundred thousand people and indirect employment to one million people in the country. Cooperative sector has been contributing to the national economy by collecting scattered capital in the country, he added.
Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and CPN-Maoist Centre leader Shakti Basnet on the occasion shed light on various aspects of the national economy. Eight papers on various issues of economy were presented by experts on the second day of the conference. The programme was chaired by president of Nepal Society for Economic Concern Ganga Thapa.