--BY MADAN LAMSAL
The government had back in May declared that Nepal will achieve an economic growth rate of 6.5 per cent this year. Everyone said it was not possible. It would be great if the growth rate which was limited to half a per cent last year could somehow reach 1-2 percent his year, they had argued. However, the government’s announcement is turning out to be true. I hope no one will label this scribe as a government spy or agent for saying so. After all, even renowned banks of Asia, the Pacific and even the World are now saying that Nepal will achieve a growth rate higher than earlier expected. For example, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently projected Nepal’s growth rate this year at 4.8 per cent. If the ADB says so, isn’t the growth rate likely to reach 5-6 per cent?
Moreover, The World Bank went a step ahead and asserted that this year Nepal will achieve an economic growth rate of 5 percent. Needless to say, we have a culture of accepting and agreeing to whatever the World Bank says. If we could make yet some other institution make such predictions now, maybe they would give even higher figure and may be we could achieve an even higher growth rate!
It is said that the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) under the United Nations, too is going to publish a report on Nepal’s economic growth rate. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if ESCAP says that Nepal will achieve a growth rate of 6 percent! Similarly, if we can make cross-country unions and organisations like BRICS, EU, NATO etc forecast our economic growth rate, maybe we could achieve a growth rate higher than that expected by the government! As these unions are formed by donor countries which could give Nepal a bonus point or two out of sheer compassion!
Now you will ask why ADB and the World Bank asserted that Nepal will have a growth rate of at least 4-5 percent when others were betting at 1-2 percent. ADB says the agriculture sector will do better this time in Nepal. So, there will be a higher economic growth rate. The agriculture sector will do better, the ADB said in August, because of good rainfall this monsoon. There was no rain in May-June. But there was good rainfall in July-August. So, the ADB raised its projection of Nepal’s growth rate. It kept raining in August and September as well. This must be why the World Bank, too, in October raised its projection to 5 percent. Isn’t “the more the rain, the higher the growth rate” formula of these two banks worthy of the Nobel Prize?
The World Bank has said that Nepal’s economic growth rate is likely to go up also because of the growth of the construction sector. The bank means the reconstruction works in the aftermath of the devastating quakes of 2015. If you think about it, then you will realise that this, too, is a formula that should win the Nobel Prize. And why wouldn’t the World Bank say so when our Prime Minister Comrade Prachanda has been repeatedly saying that he will complete reconstruction even if that calls for distributing relief money to quake victims through choppers? He is seriously listening to the virtues of ‘Helicopter Money’ that the economists world over are singing so relentlessly. There was a time when the Maoists talked a lot about destruction. Those who were wondering why now realise that their talk about destruction was aimed at increasing the country’s growth rate! Though the Maoists talked about destruction and demolition, they were not able to do much except kill 15-20 thousand people.
Mother Nature understood the Maoists’ craving for destruction and sent the devastating earthquake last year. So, now we can talk about reconstruction and envision a higher economic growth rate! This formula of “development from destruction” should have got this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. But this year’s Nobel in Economics has already been awarded. So, we should not delay to nominate this formula for next year’s Nobel.
This is the way in which several new principles and formulas are being developed in our country. We Nepalis deserve a Nobel or two. It’s high time we started lobbying for that. The festival season has already started. So, we should start praying to the gods. Maybe then, Nepal could have a chance to win the Nobel Prize and its economic growth rate could reach even 10-12 percent!