KATHMANDU, April 13: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday announced that he will contribute his salary to the coronavirus prevention and control fund unless the situation returns to normalcy.
In his video message to the people on the occasion of New Year 2077, PM Oli said "As the executive head of the country, I have decided to contribute my salary to coronavirus prevention and control fund as long as we continue to face the difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic."
He said that the people would have celebrated the New Year with full of joy if the coronavirus pandemic had not taken place at this point of time. "We are forced to observe New Year in a very difficult time. I urge you all to have patience," he said.
The prime minister urged Nepali people living in the country and abroad to stay safe at this hour of global health crisis. "I wish those who are infected by the virus will be able to defeat it. Hope, the entire world will get rid of this deadly virus soon," Oli said adding that the government is taking the lead in the ongoing "war" against coronavirus. He also thanked the people for their continued support during this period.
In his message, the prime minister expressed hope that the country will go back to normalcy by controlling the coronavirus.
PM Oli also vowed to bring plans to revive the country's economy which has hit hard by the deadly virus.
Read the full text of PM Oli's address to the nation as translated by National News Agency:
Esteemed sisters and brothers,
- First of all, I would like to extend to you all hearty greetings on the occasion of the New Year 2077 B.S. The moment bidding farewell to the bygone year and welcoming the New Year should really have been a festival of joyous celebration and happiness, and an occasion of the appraisal and of a new resolve. But we are welcoming this New Year in a very difficult situation.
- Today, the entire world community suffers from the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has affected the Nepalis as well. Some of the loved ones of Nepalis scattered around the world have been infected and some of them have been taken away from us. As your Prime Minister, I have to convey with heavy heart greetings of the New Year 2077 amid such an uneasy situation.
- At this hour, I wish all Nepali sisters and brothers living within Nepal and abroad-all of you, your family members and relatives be able to stay safe from the infection of coronavirus! May those who became infected defeat the virus! And may we all Nepalis including the entire humankind get rid of this global pandemic soon. The Government has been leading the ongoing fight against this virus. In every moment of grief, we have received your encouraging cooperation and goodwill. The Government is confident that all the countrymen will continue to stand with us in the coming days as well.
- Two years have passed since the formation of the Government of Nepal Communist Party under my leadership. You and we all know; the progress of the past two years was impressive. Had Nepal not been caught by this pandemic, today we would have been discussing about the rate of development. We would have been crafting new plans to reach new height while building on the foundation of past accomplishments. We would have been talking about the issues ranging from the increase in gainful employment opportunities to the modernisation of agriculture within the country. We would have been preparing for the accelerated extraction of mineral resources.
- This time around the celebratory fervour of Visit Nepal Year 2020 would have been peaking. Home stays, restaurants and hotels would have been filled with visitors amid a campaign to welcome more than two million tourists during the year. Cities, markets, trekking routes, and mountaineering destinations would have been massively bustling with tourists and mountaineers.
- At this time, we would have been sharing happiness over the grand success of the 'Sagarmatha Sambad' that was initiated with long-term vision. We would have been discussing and analysing the discourses held and conclusions made on the climate change, mountains and future of humanity.
- To sum up, at this hour, I would have been presenting my analysis to the countrymen about the overall pledges made by us in the past, their progresses and future action plans. Reaching almost to the middle of the five-year mandate given by the people, we would have been holding conversation on the gaps between our expectations and outcomes.
- But today, we are welcoming the advent of New Year amid an uneasy situation of different nature. While expecting a quick end to this uneasy situation, I once again cordially wish all Nepali sisters and brothers for an auspicious New Year 2077.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemics, we are now passing through a dreadful situation. During these five days since my last address, additional thirty-five thousand people have lost their lives. Now, the entire world remains under lock-down for the protection of the life of the people. All our activities are under lock-down. A number of family members remain in lock-down away from their loved ones. For the sake of protecting ourselves from infection and maintain social distance, we follow mutual distance even while remaining in the same place.
- No doubt, at this hour of difficulty, the humane sentiment within us has been uniting us even stronger. The entire Nepali community has been attached more closely with the sentiment of national unity. But, if we speak in terms of physical proximity, the binding thread of social relations has been disconnected now. The link of production system that keeps the entire world united has been delinked. The time at present has been passing through a dreadful situation of uncertainty and fear.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, - I am now recollecting the panicky situation that sprang up five years ago. At that time, many of our houses were destroyed by the devastating earthquake. The ground where we stand was shaking time and again. Hospitals were replete with wounded persons. Many were yelling expecting their rescue. Others were overwhelmed with the passing away of their kith and kin. Neither was there a place to live in, nor the food items stored for the time to come were left. Men and women were abruptly thrown into the open sky.
- United, we faced that appalling situation boldly. We stood firmly with patience and courage; we strove for moving forward. Even if thousands of physical infrastructures got demolished, we did not let our morale down. We did not allow our confidence to crumble in the advent of the bright sunlight upon fading of black clouds. Thereafter, we continued removing the obstacles one by one in unison. We demonstrated our identity with audacity that Nepali people are not bad off even if they were weak in terms of physical property owing to natural calamity. This courage and patience of Nepali people was widely acclaimed; we were extended hands of help to stand up brushing off the dust. I would like to earnestly urge all to remember the fact that with the unity and discipline exerted by all of us in times of need we Nepalis have been able to hold our heads high like the Dharahara, which was demolished and is being erected again.
- But now we have been fighting a war with a different and ‘invisible’ foe. A foe for the prevention or cure of which no vaccination or medicine has been invented yet. A foe that has frightened not only the developing countries like ours but also the developed countries with strong health infrastructures.
- We require to follow different ‘rules of war’ to win this. A weird situation has cropped up to follow the rule during this war, as ‘power is in the maintenance of distance’ and our unity is truly reflected in the distance. We ought to be cautious to avoid coronavirus, an invisible foe, by remaining alone and maintaining social distance. It is quintessential to adopt the policy of staying there where you are, following strictly the suggestions provided by health workers and the directives issued by the Government, and waiting patiently until the period of the end of the cycle of coronavirus.
- Human by nature becomes frantic in a situation of difficulty. I hold that we ought to maintain self-control in such a situation. It is easier said than done; but my own experience vindicates that man can face such a situation when confronted with it.
Respected Sisters and Brothers, - It is said that during famine, scarcity breeds tension. But it would be a mistake to think it uproar. If one is panicked or heart-broken, there can be a feeling of doubt if the person who ought to act did so. One may feel that whatever has been done is not enough. One may also expect faster and better performance with immediate outcome. But one should not be distracted, confused or swayed away; rather s/he needs to maintain a strong willpower.
- In different countries of the world the number and proportion of the infected persons by coronavirus varies. In our country Nepal the ratio of infected persons stands 0.3 out of every one million people. As the status of infected persons stands normal and no one has died of this virus so far, this can be considered as the success of our efforts.
- It’s true that the tests being performed at present of the potentially infected persons is not enough. So far, we have performed tests of 152 persons out of every one million population. The coverage of such tests will continuously be expanded in order to ensure the infection-free situation.
- But, let us not take it that the good deeds that have been done have occurred by themselves out of coincidence. Also let us not say even to the extent that a few weaknesses and the pending works are the consequence of the Government’s inaction.
- Let’s be sensitive enough to acknowledge that the works we have accomplished at present are the result of round-the-clock hard work of doctors, health workers, security personnel, civil servants and all associated workers. Despite the limited means and resources, the works we have been doing are positive and have yielded positive results. This is proven by a national survey released on the 7th of April which has concluded that basic information has reachedto most of the citizens, that they have been aware of the preventive measures, and that there is satisfaction among the majority of citizens on the Government’s efforts.
- The remaining tasks will be continued and expedited with the coordination and leadership of all three tiers of Government.
Sisters and Brothers, - No doubt, the effects of coronavirus will be deep and far-reaching on the global economy and the overall world order. It can be easily estimated that the pandemic is going to invite the most serious global economic recession of our time. Even without mentioning the projected statistics, the contraction of world trade volume, loss of millions of jobs and drying up of sources of investment are certain.
- Apart from the social and psychological cost of this pandemic, the consequent global economic recession is going to inflict profound impact on the emerging economies such as ours. The adequate attention of the Government has been drawn to the analyses of various subject experts that the damage to our GDP shall be to the tune of 2 to 4 percent due to this pandemic. Relevant agencies of the Government have already been tasked to estimate post-epidemic damages. As the speed of the pandemic would be predictable within the coming week, broader evaluation process will be conclusive only after that.
- It was our plan that Ranipokhari would have been inaugurated in the first half of the first month (Baishakh) of the New Year (2077 B.S.). It was contemplated that the Dharahara would be rising not only up to the 10th floor but beyond that. Awarding of contract would have been concluded for the Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion project. A new programme would have been announced on public transport. I would have updated in today’s address the progress against the list of tasks I presented to the House of Representatives through the address of 15 February 2020.
- However, due to the epidemic, we have arrived at a juncture that requires postponement of a number of projects; creates obvious delays in construction works; and makes it necessary for the transfer of budgets to another headings and the rearrangement of the priority sectors. The highest and only priority today, as we all know, is the health and safety of all the citizens. The most important development and reconstruction activity at present is to ensure the prevention of the infection from spreading.
- Therefore, at this point of time, we have focused our attention on the identification, testing and treatment of the infected patients. Once we flatten the curve of this pandemic, we will surely adopt the policy of 'investment, investment and, again investment' in order to enhance economic activities. At present, our study and survey is focused on 'how to connect the missing link with the broken production-relation' and 'how to run again the obstructed production system'. Based on the findings and recommendations of the study, the Government will announce an 'economic recovery package' through its policy and program and budget.
- At the moment, many distinguished people have been giving important advice and suggestions. The advice is about the working procedure of the Government and, also about the means and resources. Some friends have invited our attention towards the readjustment of the budget allocated on various headings in the current budget. Some others have suggested cut down on the pays and benefits of the high office holders and people's representatives. My attention has been seriously drawn to all those suggestions.
- I have been repeatedly saying that this war is the one that can be won by the strong unity of all. The solution to this global crisis is possible only through the global effort, partnership and cooperation. National efforts should be paramount for the management of the crisis within the country. Together, we should shoulder the loss to be incurred at this difficult period as we judiciously share the gains of the progress of the country in good times. It is also our tradition to 'cut a bite of food of haves in order to save the life of haves-not' in the need. As the chief executive of the country, I have decided to contribute my salary to the 'Prime Minister COVID-19 Relief Fund' until the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.
- As we face this difficult situation, we are grateful to the goodwill, solidarity and cooperation from the friendly countries. The support and cooperation received from the development partners in raising necessary resources to make up the losses is highly commendable. During this period, a 29 million USD cooperation agreement has already been concluded with the World Bank asemergency support for prevention of coronavirus infection. Likewise, on different headings, some 1,563 million USD has been arranged form various development partners including the World Bank.
- It is evident that the present crisis cannot be solved only through the conventional development assistance policy, support programme and cooperation instruments. The countries full of risk, like ours, can move ahead defeating the crisis only through the innovative assistance policy, support programmes and cooperation instruments. Therefore, the Government will endeavour for the reform and simplification of the types, methods, conditions, and the cost of debt as well as process of development cooperation since additional means and resources beyond the regular cooperation have been indispensable for us.
- It is said that 'the crisis also opens the window of opportunity'. We should strive to transform the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic into opportunities. This pandemic has seriously awakened the entire world and us as well for the investment in the health infrastructure. The Government will definitely pay its serious attention to this issue. Policy will be adopted to implement the employment programme targeting those youths on overseas employment, who are at the risk of losing job due to the possible global economic slowdown, and those unemployed youths within the country. In addition to promoting agro-based, small and medium enterprises, concrete plan will be put in place in collaboration with the relevant entrepreneurs, experts and youths themselves to explore the potential new areas of self-employment.
Sisters and Brothers, - The Government takes the guardianship of the people from all classes and region affected by the coronavirus. First of all, people will be saved from the pandemic; and the butter and bread will be arranged side by side. Necessary arrangements will be made for providing social security to ordinary people and vulnerable section of society to the extent possible, giving incentives to the private sector affected by this crisis, and ensuring the regular income of farmers and labourers.
I have already announced, arrangements will be made to ensure the adequate safety of those frontline warriors of this war, such as, the doctors and health workers involved in the treatment of infected patients putting their lives at the risk, and the security personnel dedicated in their lines of duty round the clock for the security of people. The Government will take care of them by all ways and means. - I would like to express high respect to the people’s representatives at local levels who have been providing services to the people’s door steps at this hour of crisis. This has established local levels as the governments closest to the people. I would like to sincerely appreciate the role of provincial governments, who having considered the peculiar circumstances and challenges of their respective provinces are engaged in effectively fighting the potential contagion in the provinces.
- Local governments themselves will reach to those people who are in difficulty to feed themselves due to loss of employment, do not have an easy access to medicines and other essential services due to disability, are elderly, and those who are facing difficulties on various fronts for being indigent and helpless. I would like to sincerely request for the cooperation of all in order to identify the persons, families and the communities trapped in difficulty and to ensure that the relief provided by the Government reaches to the hands of truly affected people.
- I remain sensitive to the Nepalis living abroad. With a view to ensuring that they are not deprived of basic facilities and treatment at this hour of global crisis, the Government has been in constant dialogue at various levels of the heads of State, heads of government and the foreign ministers of the respective countries. I would like to thank them for their assurances to protect Nepalis and provide basic facilities at par with their own citizens.
- The whole nation is united at this hour of crisis. Support and creative suggestions received from all political parties have provided added energy to the Government. For this, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all political parties. The Government elected by the people is the leading institution to face the crisis. I would like to assure you that all three tiers of the Government will effectively face this unusual situation by taking into consideration the suggestions of all concerned.
- I had said on 7th of April that it has been evident today that the preparation of the entire world to face this sort of pandemic is not adequate. There is an urgent need of new world order that makes higher investment in human health. With the end of this pandemic, a dialogue needs to be initiated about human-centred new world order.
- Self-confidence, morale and unity are the most important weapons to win any war. However, equipped with modern resources, an army with lost confidence and low morale cannot win the war. At this moment, I would like to make a special call to all- let us raise the morale of those who have been leading the difficult war against coronavirus from the frontline; let us further strengthen national unity and let us play positive role to prevent spread of coronavirus at the community level and to further strengthen the self-confidence of the people that it can be defeated even if there is the contagion.
- The period of second lock-down will be completed on the 15th of April. The Government shall decide on what should be our policy against coronavirus pandemic based on the progress incoming two days. Rest assured, we shall not let the supply system weaken in any adverse situation. - Once again, I would like to express my best wishes for the New Year 2077 B.S. and wish you all the good health. Many thanks to all. Thank you!