Nepali Times
Opportunity cost


For an example of an elected leadership that has exhibited utter disregard for the national interest, the welfare of its citizens, and the country's reputation and standing in the international arena none surpass the successive governments that have (mis)ruled Nepal since 2008.

For a country reeling under a crippling power shortage, no new hydropower generation capacity has been added in the past two years. The construction of the last big power project began 11 years ago. Investors in major river schemes have pulled out due to local opposition, lack of political support and the obduracy of the bureaucracy. Power cuts are therefore going to last at least till 2020 .

The foreign investors who have braved it out are battling political extortion masquerading as unionism. A major exporter of designer mountaineering apparel has had its raw material stuck in customs for over a month because the Maoist minister is sitting on the files for no good reason.

Looking at the chronic fuel, food, power and water crises, one would think that anyone deliberately out to destroy this country and sabotage the economy couldn't have done a better job.

The opportunity cost of all this is hurting every sector. Even in areas where this country had earned international recognition, like community forestry, the past three administrations have been responsible for wholesale plunder and setting the clock back 30 years. There are nearly a million Nepalis working in Qatar, yet our national airline only has three flights a week to Doha and Kuala Lumpur.

Nepal has repeatedly missed the deadline on ratifying the amendments to the Montreal Protocol on the phaseout and control of refrigerants and other chemicals that warm the atmosphere. We are the only country in Asia not to have ratified them, and this means we can't draw on $2 million dollars in technical assistance from the United Nations. The draft law was approved by the previous government, but successive governments have been just too distracted to push it through the CA.

In 2009, the cabinet decided to set up a Disaster Management Authority to oversee a $120 million plan to prepare Nepal for earthquakes, but the legislation has been languishing in the parliament ever since.

Next week, Nepal will be internationally blacklisted for failing to ratify two crucial international conventions of which it is a signatory: the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill. It is a cruel irony, but sadly not at all surprising, that for a country that is so dependent on remittance transfers and during Nepal Investment Year, we may be declared a pariah for international financial transactions.

Yet, despite such reckless apathy and negligence, Nepal's young entrepreneurs, private sector, and local organisations are forging ahead with innovative alternative energy installations and building a sustainable future. In urban solar power, garbage recycling, micro-hydro power, biogas, organic agriculture, Nepalis have shown what can be achieved with a forward-looking problem-solving approach. We have created opportunity out of adversity. It is to showcase these examples of ecologically-sound and sustainable lifestyles that this newspaper is organising the Nepali Times Ecofair 2012 over the weekend in what we hope will be an annual affair.

We hope to see you there.

Read also:
Opportunity in adversity

Mind your own business, PAAVAN MATHEMA
Mixing business with politics is driving investors away

A gathering storm, ANURAG ACHARYA
Kathmandu is choosing not to see another gathering storm over the Madhes

1. here n there
"Power cuts are therefore going to last at least till 2020"

I thought  its chronic load shedding till 2015 plus year or two, now in two NT articles the new optimistic hurdle is 2020. Do we hold our collective breath until then? Pls stop teasing us, and just write "chronic load shedding indefinitely".  Or at least mention, specific reasons why NT deduces the new magical year is 2020. Kudos on the ECO FAIR.

2. Sunil Maharjan
So, if we know who are reponsible for the suffering of Nepalis, then we need to act. Act now. We can round all the rotting, disgraceful and shamless Netas of Nepal and banish them from the country. They are the real traitors and they have betrayed Nepal and Nepalis. The Netas are servants of Nepal and Nepalis, why do we treat them like Masters. The CA is a useless body. Where is the Constitution.  Why do we suffer from lack of basic human consumptions. We the Nepali people have been cowards so far, now its time to turn the tide.

3. anonymous
Anyone who expects good governance will be utterly mistaken in a new Nepal. We have many things in nepal from loadshedding to lootsharing because we have an inclusive assembly. Inclusive in nepal means including kidnappers, murderers, the power thirsty a

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)