Over the past fortnight there are many important business and economic issues that have hogged headlines, but very few pieces that actually analyse them. The Beed craves your indulgence for a few pointers.
The oil prices in the international market have doubled and we are still managing the supply side through a government corporation. While in India politicians have realised oil prices, like prices of other commodities, have little to do rather rely on politics but with global price mechanisms, why do our politicians still want to make it an issue? Why the delay in opening it up to international players and the private sector? If India's retail prices and supply chain determine ours, why not allow Indian companies to operate directly in Nepal as Sri Lanka has done so effectively?
The Royal Nepal Military Bank: is it on or off? The government spokesman made a lame denial. Does the cabinet know what they approved was in fact the operating arena for the Army Welfare Fund? How does the Thai Military Bank function? How do Pakistani army businesses compare? Is it good or bad for the army to get into business? Who is going to regulate these investments?
The two foreign-managed-erstwhile-sick-government-owned banks reported turnaround and good profits this week. This has proved that government assets can be managed efficiently. This was also the Nepal Electricity Authority's anniversary week. This monolithic-loss-making, private-sector-bashing SOE reported a colossal loss. If we can let private management run government banks, why not these public sector dinosaurs?
The closure of 24 major businesses in Nepal due to Maoist threats has received attention all over the world. The government and people in the government, some of whom don't know the difference between an internet page and a word document, is only concerned about getting into the blame game and clearing its own conscience in the local media.
Where is all the impact analysis? What is the impact of this on foreign investment? What will happen to government revenue (also read individual revenues for people in government) if more businesses are asked to close and some of them decide to fully close shop?
The economics pages of our papers are limited to reporting demonstrations held against the petro-price hike. We need a lot of analysts, and urgently. The type that will spend time on research, keep abreast of national and international developments in business and economy and provide a non-academic common man perspective of the national economy in a globalised world. The Beed could do it for you, but he comes only once a fortnight.