2-8 August 2013 #667

The business of elections

After the Election Commission announced its Code of Conduct last week for the November polls, Nepal’s business community has also revealed its own code in which it has told political parties it will not contribute to campaign financing.

At a function attended by government head Khil Raj Regmi, the National Business Initiative (NBI) on Sunday said it would prioritise consumer rights, strive for transparency, ensure environmental protection and not continue anymore to support political parties and politicians.

The code is supported by more than 30 business organisations involved in construction, manpower, handicraft, LPG, tourism and other areas. “At a time when every sector of the state is failing, we want business to take the lead in restoring confidence and transparency,” said NBI’s Padma Jyoti about the code.

Also on Sunday, the FNCCI organised its first of a series of interactions with political parties on how their election manifesto can be business-friendly. Sunday’s meeting was with the Nepali Congress and was attended by NC president Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba.

“It was the first post-1990 NC government that adopted a free market economy and freedom of expression that ensured 8 per cent growth rate,” said FNCCI president Suraj Vaidya, “we need that political will to attract investment, create jobs, generate power and lift the country’s economy.”

However, the NC politicians used the forum to heap blame on Maoists and royalists for destroying the economy. Koirala and other NC leaders said that for a free market to develop fully, it needed democracy.

The FNCCI gave the politicians a checklist for their election manifesto that includes a collective commitment to raise the per capita GDP growth rate, guarantee private property rights, raise productivity and generate jobs, transparency and regulating labour.