KATHMANDU, March 12: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli promised tough measures to combat corruption as he reiterated his government’s commitment to take the country toward peace, prosperity and economic development.
In his first speech in parliament after being elected the prime minister three weeks ago, Oli on Sunday said his government would focus on uplifting the country’s poor, backward and marginalized communities while working to restore the people’s trust on the bureaucracy, political parties and legal system.
Oli said this while replying to the queries put forth by lawmakers from various parties before two-thirds members of parliament endorsed his appointment as the prime minister.
Oli said that his government will act strongly against bribery and corruption which has been pointed out as the major challenge to the country’s development.
“I’ll not take bribes. Nor will I tolerate it if anybody takes it. I will be a prime minister who will act tough on bribery to control corruption and promote good governance,” Oli told parliamentarians as he sought the support of the lawmakers on the issue.
Oli also tried to paint himself in a positive light on the issue of facing the most deprived, marginalized and disabled people in the country. He said that the government would work to ensure their rights and uplift them together with the rest of the nation.
While promising opportunities, Oli laid out the challenges facing the government and clarified that the support of every political party was a must to overcome those challenges.
He highlighted the need for ending income disparity and increasing the per capita income from $800 to $1200 by investing in income-generating activities. He also pointed out the compulsion of the country’s youths to migrate and trade deficit as the major challenges facing the government and made a strong point to boost internal investment and development.
“In our journey to economic prosperity and infrastructure development, I urge the opposition party for its constructive criticism as development is our common goal.”
Responding to some lawmakers’ questions on his ‘foreign policy imbalance’, Oli maintained that his government would pursue an independent foreign policy upholding the principles of equidistance but stressed that he will never be a slave to any country.”
Oli’s response on the economic development, governance and foreign policy was directed at concerns put forth by some lawmakers of NC and other smaller parties.
Before Oli addressed parliament, several leaders including NC leaders Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar and Gagan Thapa put into question Oli’s commitment to democracy and good governance. They demanded Oli’s stance on foreign policy.
NC deputy parliamentary party leader said that the main opposition party would work as a watchdog, while clarifying that issues pursued by the new government would be supported or opposed objectively. He also asked Oli to take everyone into confidence on matters of national importance.
Some leaders from the ruling alliance urged Oli to focus on works, not words. CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal asked Oli to set his priorities clear and work to deliver on promises made during the elections.
“People have grown tired of words. They want results now. The new government should deliver at any cost,” said Dahal.
UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal urged the new government to focus on areas of education, transportation, health and infrastructure first - things that he said will warrant sustainable development. He also asked the government to end nepotism and patronage system to restore the trust of common people in politics. Lack of public trust, he said, was dangerous for democracy.
“Politics has ruled and ruined each section of society. Criminals have political protection,” he said.