An international expert on transport and highway engineering, after making a visit to major road infrastructures in Nepal, commented that there is no single stretch of road in Nepal that is worth of calling a highway. According to this expert, there are certain parameters for any road to be called highway which is determined on the basis of width of the road, engineering design, geometry, quality of pavement, and provision on safety of pedestrians, passengers and vehicles.
The rising economic clout of China and India as the next door neighbors could be a blessing for socio-economic transformation of Nepal if Nepal can maintain a balanced foreign policy and constructive engagement. One of the major challenges faced in overall socio-economic development of the country is the modernization and expansion of physical infrastructures like energy, transport and border facilities which requires huge amount of financial resources and technologies suited to the fragile ecosystem and rugged terrain of the young mountains.
Global merchandize trade has experienced slowdown after 2011 which is mainly attributed to the economic recession of 2009-10 and the drop in the prices of fuels and minerals in the ensuing years. The situation got aggravated as the US government made a big shift in its trade policy after 2016, introducing the element of protectionism under the banner of ‘make America great again.’
The commonly accepted objective of foreign direct investment is to create conducive policy, regulatory and operational environment for attracting foreign owned companies or the multi-nationals to invest into the host country. The investment made in the productive sector of economy not only helps create job and employment opportunities through injection of foreign capital and technology but also helps in increasing productive capacity of the economy and improve balance of payment through increased export of goods and services.
Special economic zones are considered to be important vehicle for industrialization as development of such zones is intended to encourage domestic and foreign investment, create jobs, enhance production of goods and services and generate additional export. Neighboring countries India, China and Bangladesh have made substantial progress in increasing industrial production and export from the successful management and operation of special economic zones, also called SEZs.
The streets of Kathmandu witnessed yet another agitation in the never-ending series of protests staged by students unions against petroleum price hike by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). It has become bit of a ritual: there is a price hike, followed by protests, stage-ins, general strikes and targeted vandalism of government vehicles.