• Wednesday 21st August 2019

Trust Deficit

  • Published on: January 23, 2019

  • A country that twice won an elected seat to the United Nations Security Council must thrive on the pleasure of having hosted an international meet of a Church. Obviously thus, much must be made of prime minister K.P. Oli’s attendance at Davos, a first at the international meet for Nepal. Government says that it is a rare opportunity to meet many heads of state and governments and the select crowd of the haves attending the meet. It is right. However, when asked of the Nepali agenda for the meet, answers are vague. This is not surprising. Having boasted much of international participation in the earthquake reconstruction, the Nepali psyche has turned sour at what really turned up at reconstruction time after the earthquake. Having been [promised much on investments for business in Nepal our pockets remain still open in the investment sector. Government must cover the embarrassment and not the foreign sources. Government being tight lipped is good politics but the dangling of hopes this time is unreal.
    The first real obstacle to international investments in Nepal is the environs that politics has created in the country. That it is unreal is demonstrated by the extreme reluctance with which the private sector at home views the investment climate here. There is a banking sector at odds with the national treasury which wants to play safe with reserves and so must issue edicts on a conservative lending policy. Incentives for lending oft and on inadequate tampering with interest rates do not quite become congenial to lending. Kathmandu’s loans for real estate remain shrunk and the red tape-ism at banks bristles the baning sector while they are aware that they have to turn down loan seekers while their reserves mount and their possible earnings through loans have to be denied them. Local business not forthcoming with investments is enough incentive for the international investment to be dissuades. Any tall tales on foreign business coming in the Nepali investment sector is therefore bunk for the moment, Davos or not.
    This being what it is, Nepali representation at Davos, rather than being judged on the basis of its utility, will be judged on the grounds of politics. Yes, this is a good round for the government. There is significance, however, on this presence coming on the heels of a foreign ministry trip to the .U.S. which incidentally followed the Moon Church meet here. Sound s far fetched? That’s how Nepali foreign policy seems these days. Nepal finds itself smack in the middle of international policy adjustments which even see it having an important role in an Indo-Pacific swing. Perhaps Davos should be seen as part of the courting. How seriously any Nepali response will be taken is, however, anybody’s guess. If there are any pledges, monetary or policy wise, the possibility of anything surfacing immediately may seem remote. But what will emerge later will have to be watched. Trust, being a key word in diplomacy, is in short supply in Nepali politics.


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