Responsibility rests on shoulders of young economist to revive country’s economy

KATHMANDU: Social networking sites were flooded with positive messages after the government appointed economist Dr Bishow Nath Paudel as the Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC). Earlier, the recently formed Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government had faced criticism from all quarters of life after Umesh Shrestha was appointed as the State Minister for Health.

Nepali Congress (NC) leader Gagan Thapa and former vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Swarnim Wagle among others took the appointment in a positive way.

Though the names of economists Shankar Sharma, Dr Tilak Rawal and Prof Dr Bishwambhar Pyakurel among others were doing rounds as one of the probable vice-chairman of National Planning Commission, the government, however, selected young economist Paudel for the post.

Paudel was appointed as the Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission on July 27. He took the oath of office and secrecy on Thursday.

Paudel holds a PhD degree from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He completed his engineering from a Shanghai-based university.

He is currently a visiting Associate Professor at Kathmandu University School of Management. Paudel, who had severed as a member of the board of directors of Sanima Bank, has investment in various hydropower projects. He had also worked as an economist with the Nepal-based office of Millennium Challenge Corporation.

He was the chief economic advisor when Swarnim Wagle was the Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission.

Paudel had also worked as an economic advisor at the International Labour Organization (ILO). He is also a borad of trustee at the Ullens Education Foundation operated by Prime Minister Deuba’s wife Arzu Deuba.

The National Planning Commission is the apex advisory body of the government of Nepal that frames country’s development plans and policies

Paudel said that he would play the role to improve the institutional capacity of the Central Bureau of Statistics and as the economic advisor of the Prime Minister.

He will work as the Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission for 17 months if national politics remains stable. Now, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of young economist to develop the economy of the country.

Meanwhile, economist Bishwomber Pyakurel said that Paudel has to move ahead by incorporating all the leaders as the country has the coalition government.

“The important responsibility to care the economic plans and policies of Nepal has rests on the shoulders of ‘young blood’,” he said, adding, “He should move ahead by incorporating all the agencies at a time when the Covid-19 has brought the country’s economy to its knees.”

Pyakurel said that Paudel should make proper coordination with the Nepal Rastra Bank for the Ministry of Finance and financial stability as the Ministry of Finance incorporates the objectives especially made by the National Planning Commission.

Economists are of the opinion that Paudel should play an instrumental role to start the construction of national pride projects and resume the works of other national pride projects which have been lying idle for the past many years.

They said that he should make proper coordination with Nepal government, National Planning Commission and Nepal Rastra Bank to take ahead development related projects.

The outstanding debt of the country has increased to Rs 17 trillion. They said that he should give helpful advice to the new government to manage the loan taken haphazardly by the erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government.

The National Planning Commission should formulate long-term plans to make Nepal’s economic dynamic at a time when the Covid-19 has gripped the world’s economy, they said.

The economists further said that the National Planning Commission should play an important role to revive country’s economy affected by the corona virus and to create job opportunities among others.

They said that the National Planning Commission should give necessary suggestions to the government to achieve high economic growth at a time when there are fears about a third wave of pandemic.

There are various instances in the past that Minister for Finance and vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission had conflict on budget planning issues.

Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat had dispute with the vice-chairman of National Planning Commission and then Minister for Finance Mahesh Acharya.

Similarly, there was conflict between then Minister for Finance Dr Yuvaraj Khatiwada and then Vice-Chairman Prof Dr Pushpa Kandel.

There is a high possibility that the finance minister of the incumbent government and vice-chairman of National Planning Commission will have personality clash as they have different beliefs and views.

 

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