My Republica

Biswo Poudel

The author is an economist
news@myrepublica.com

State of local governance

Published On: November 18, 2019 09:06 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

Last month, some of us met visiting executive directors of the World Bank in Kathmandu. The fact that nine of 25 EDs came to Nepal demonstrated a level of curiosity the bank has about Nepal now. Nepal also seems to be increasing its engagement with the bank by entering into new loan agreements and starting new projects. Given the prevalence of both cost and time overrun in most of the projects in Nepal, one of the topics of discussion was “science of delivery”—how to improve the delivery of projects in Nepal.

Does Doing Business ranking mean anything?

Published On: November 4, 2019 01:30 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

Nepal’s ranking in World Bank’s Doing Business (DB) improved from last year’s 110th to 94th, mainly due to the improved scores in getting credit, trading across borders, and dealing with construction permit sub indicators. This news brought much needed joy to the finance ministry beset with the increasing criticism of how it has hitherto handled economy. The finance minister was said to be “giddy”, according to an expatriate living in Kathmandu who met him after the ranking came out, and a news conference was organized in the ministry the next day. The ranking, which had remained more or less constant for more than 10 years (see the graph), suddenly seemed to be moving in the right direction. The ministry officials rightly promised to create a momentum and improve the ranking in the years to come.

A tale of slow progress

Published On: October 21, 2019 03:01 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

Two recently published global indices embody the motionless in governance in the last two years. The first, Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), ranked Nepal 108th out of 141 economies it looked at in 2019. Nepal was ranked 109th last year and 108th two years ago.

Nepal-China ties: Vistas past and future

Published On: October 13, 2019 07:22 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

China has only enthusiastic well-wishers in Nepal. However, they fall into two categories. The first are naïve type, who think China is still a Mao-era country enthusiastic about exporting revolution, excited about the tales of Yan’an and Hunan and eager to share it with the rest of the world. Many of these enthusiasts have read Yang Mo’s The Song of Youth in their formative years.

Are social protection programs a liability?

Published On: September 23, 2019 01:29 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

Social protection programs are generally popular: they are important instruments of wealth redistribution and even if they are not considered equalizers, they are programs in the right direction.

Let women entrepreneurs rise

Published On: September 9, 2019 01:25 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

Should policy making be more nuanced to accommodate the need of evolving demographic trend in Nepal? If phrased like this, the answer is likely to be an almost unanimous ‘yes.’ And yet, policy making tends to be rigid and changing a policy takes ages. Take for example, policies regarding women entrepreneurs. In a survey of managers and owners of 622 Nepali firms conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) two years ago, women entrepreneurs identified access to finance and difficulty of getting customers as two top barriers to growth.

Dealing with syndicates

Published On: August 26, 2019 01:30 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

As long as the market-related inefficiencies that actually gave rise to syndicates remain, the transportation syndicates will rise again, in one form or another

Will they build it?

Published On: August 12, 2019 01:30 AM NPT By: Biswo Poudel

History suggests that Nepal-China railway project does not have an easy answer