With low public spending Karnali ranks at the bottom
KATHMANDU, April 28: Economic activities in Province 5 are more vibrant than in other provinces, going by a growth projection made public by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on Friday.
The bureau has projected that both government spending and private sector investments in Province 5 will contribute to higher economic output than in other provinces.
Factors like construction of Lumbini International Airport, establishment of industrial units in Special Economic Zone, and opening of new hotels are expected to spur economic growth in the province, according to CBS officials.
Economic growth in the province is projected to be 7.37 percent, followed by 7.06 percent in Gandaki Province.
Province 3, where most of the economic activities and public and private investments took place according to last year's census of economic activities, is going to be at the third position with 7.04 percent growth.
Karnali lags behind with the lowest growth projection of 5.68 percent. CBS official say the reasons behind it are very low spending of government budget and little activities of the private sector, probably because of difficult geological terrain.
Province 2, the traditional home to large industrial houses and enterprises, comes in the fourth position in terms of projected economic growth, of 6.53 percent, in the current fiscal year.
Likewise, economic outputs of Province 1 and Sudur Paschim Province will be 6.49 and 6.25 percent, respectively.
Suman Raj Aryal, director general of CBS, said: “Seeing Province 5 lead in terms of economic growth, other provinces might draw a lesson. This might also create a kind of competition among the provinces. I am optimistic this will lead to an equity-based growth and balanced development in the provinces as envisioned by the federal system of governance.”
Aryal said that low public spending in Karnali Province has sent the province backward in terms of economic activities. Media reports also say that the province lacks workforce to implement government programs. Policymakers who represent the province say that no civil servant would like to go the province.
“No qualified staffer would like to go there because of the region's geographical difficulties. Staff deputation to the province is regarded as a punishment among the government employees,” said Min Bahadur Shahi, member of the National Planning Commission of the federal government.
Shahi further said that very little resources were allocated to the province compared to other provinces though the province needed more infrastructural investments to achieve equity-based growth.
Last month, a group of lawmakers of the federal parliament led by Janardan Sharma had raised a issue that the province was neglected and little budget was allocated to it. They had met Prime Minister KP Oli and Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada to lobby for more budget and authority to carry out development works in the province.
Shahi was of the view that the central government needed to formulate a policy to encourage both administrative and technical workforce to go to the province, providing them attractive career schemes.