Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
"We’ll go bankrupt"




KIRAN PANDAY

What is the country's current financial situation?
There has been progress since the return of democracy. We are looking at nearly 18 percent increase in revenue. The agricultural sector suffered because of bad weather, so GDP growth will not hit the expected five percent but remain at four. There isn't the hoped-for increase in investment, as there is still an environment of terror-the Maoists are still extorting, labour problems remain, and there are threats against industries.

How come there is no improvement despite the political change?
We are trying. We regularly monitor progress and expedite allocations. Work is progressing on roads, irrigation, electrification, and water supply. I am certain there will be much more progress this year than in previous ones. But you can't imagine the pressure we are under due to demands for current account expenses: from victims of the People's Movement, relief for families of martyrs, payment to the Maoists, elections, distribution of citizenship certificates.

You seem dissatisfied with the lack of reforms in the civil service.
There has been some change, but not the kind of transformation we'd expected. Fear and threats continue, and we have overshot the budget by up to Rs 12 billion, mostly due to the election and related security. There is no money in the treasury to meet that expense. Still, we expect progress in infrastructure, education, and health, and an increase in the GDP growth.

The Maoists's demands are also increasing.
That's true, and the troubling thing is, there is no accounting. They've said they will present a statement of accounts in 35 days. That should be as per government rules. But given the rate at which it is growing, it will be difficult to meet the demands for expenses. If we doled out money to meet every demand, the country would be bankrupt.

Can't we ask the donors to help?
And tell them what? Yes, aid has increased a bit since the restoration of democracy, but it isn't that dramatic. The most positive aspect is that what used to come as loans from the World Bank and ADB has now been converted to grants.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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