The Nepali Congress today said the left alliance government painted wrong picture of the economy in the white paper to give an impression to the public that it was trying to start the journey of prosperity from scratch.
Issuing a four-page statement to refute claims made in the white paper, NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma called the white paper a ‘red paper’ that painted hopelessness.
He said by presenting a bleak economic scenario the government was trying to argue that the NC left the economy in dire straits and the left alliance government was fixing it — just to boost its chances in future electoral campaigns.
Conventionally, white paper presents economic scenario from a certain point of time in the past to present, but the left alliance government conveniently used periodic data to suit its interests, added Sharma.
“White paper states that the economic situation of the country worsened in the last 10 years. However, communist leaders were at the helm for more than seven-and-a-half years in the past decade,” Sharma added. Sharma claimed that the NC-led government left Rs 300 billion in the national coffers, apart from foreign-exchange reserves of $10 billion. He added that even the finance minister’s statement that capital budget had not been spent proved that the country’s coffers were not empty as claimed by the left alliance government.
“The rate of foreign dependence for national budget decreased from 35 per cent 25 years ago to less than 15 per cent now. Isn’t that encouraging?” Sharma asked. He said the government’s negative statement about the liberalised economy was the reason why share market was down.
He added that tourist arrival rose by 20 per cent this year, but the government did not mention that in the white paper.
According to The Himalayan Times, the NC said in its press statement that 49 per cent population was below poverty line in 1991 but was lowered to 21 per cent last year. During the same period the literacy rate increased to 90 per cent from 50 per cent, he added.
The NC added that the achievements made since 1991 despite the Maoist war, direct rule by the former king and aggressive street protests by the CPN-UML were by no standard less significant. The NC also stated that the white paper did not mention Nepal’s improvement on World Bank’s Doing Business Index and Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
It claimed that privatisation had paved the way for opening of banks, hospitals, media outlets and airlines and created thousands of employment opportunities. “We cannot tolerate any attempt to discourage the private sector,” the NC added in its statement.