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Toward economic renewal: Suggestions for building prosperous Nepal

Toward economic renewal: Suggestions for building prosperous Nepal

Honorable Finance Minister,

You might not be an economist, but as an experienced political leader, I am very hopeful about the upcoming budget of fiscal year 2081/082 BS. There isn’t any special formula for achieving prosperity, for it requires courage and competence in equal measure. In your second term as finance minister, you being a leader who has repeatedly won elections, are a close witness to our nation’s poverty. Hence, I am even more enthusiastic; will you this time introduce new measures for prosperity.

The budget is not just the financial exercise of the nation; it’s an outline and strategy document for solving the most complex issues of the nation, where the management of resources must be done with justice and wisdom. I find our national budget comprising remnants of the past goods, incomplete, inadequate present, and plan-less future.

So I want to ask you this Honorable Finance Minister: Why does the budget always seem so stale? Why can’t the budget makers become allies of public enthusiasm? Isn't this a beautiful opportunity to awaken the common people? Why can't budget makers become engineers of national transformation?

I lack any formal education in economics. However, as an entrepreneur and a citizen of Nepal, I could not help but offer my two cents worth of suggestions for the upcoming budget. And, I have presented some suggestions. I feel, we are in various circumstances, and these diverse suggestions will indeed be helpful.

Communicate hope

Social despair is more detrimental than economic despair. Please manifest hope and enthusiasm in your programs. In every allocation of your budget, ask yourself, ‘What energy does this bring?’

Address the youth

There is a significant gap between youth and national budget programs. Present programs for high-level youth development that can yield results in two years. Introduce ideas and schemes to control human capital flight. Correct the past tendency of discouraging youths and upstart entrepreneurs. 

Be courageous

The position of finance minister is very important. It's a place to showcase one's leadership and brilliance. Corruption in national resources distribution due to excessive politicization has created many problems in the past. To break this trend, it's necessary to show courage. Do something new, even if it seems impossibly ambitious. Do not allow budgetary programs to be mere election slogans.

Show empathy toward entrepreneurs

Business is not just about making money; it’s about growth. Nurture and promote entrepreneurship. The business sector is affected by incursions from various bodies of the state. It is in the grip of an economic recession. Seek various means of national revenue. Taxation is one face of the coin; the other is subsidies and facilities.

Don’t intimidate entrepreneurs in the name of taxes. Rather, motivate them to earn and contribute more. 

Invest in education

Provide opportunities for existing educational institutions to transform themselves. Prioritize educational governance. Invest in programs that create a better future rather than long-term productivity programs. We have omitted many things in education, which could be the sole significant medium for national prosperity.

Digital transformation

Digitalization is a weapon against corruption—use it. Be ambitious. Aim to become influential. Dare to reach your goal. Invite global information technology companies and donors for nation-building. However small contribution there may be, it will sow the seeds of prosperity.

Become a guardian

Save Nepal. Be a guardian to all of us. Listen to interest groups but verify from independent analysts. Make the budget inclusive and participatory. Analyze the potential decisions in favor and against. Be bold and be ready to address every concern of stakeholders.

My eighth suggestion, please spend at least one day studying and analyzing the trends, weaknesses, strengths, and obstacles of programs of the last two decades at the international level, along with their impacts. You will find more guiding principles from there than your economic advisors. Time provides an opportunity for a person to do something great. That time is now for you. Don’t miss the opportunity to become the ‘architect’ of a prosperous Nepal.