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खस्कदो औद्योगिक अवस्थाका प्रमुख कारणहरु

Industry1प्रजातन्त्रको पुनरवहालीसंगै नब्बेको दशकमा भएको नीतिगत सुधारले निजी क्षेत्रको सहभागितामा ६–७ प्रतिशतको आर्थिक वृद्धि हासिल भएको थियो जसमा औद्यौगिक क्षेत्रको देन ९ प्रतिशतसम्म पुगेको थियो । तर, देशमा माओवादी द्धन्द्धमा फसेपछि व्यवसायिक वातावरण बिग्रदै गयो जसको कारणले गर्दा आर्थिक वृद्धि न्यून भयो र सन् २००१ मा आउँदा त आर्थिक वृद्धि नकारात्मक नै भयो । अर्थतन्त्रमा देखिएको नकारात्मक असर अनुसार नेपालको कुल गाह्रस्थ उत्पादनमा उद्योग क्षेत्रको देन पनि क्रमशः घटदै गयो । बाह्र बुँदे समझदारी संगै शान्ति स्थापनाका लागि स्वदेशी तथा विदेशी शुभचिन्तकहरुको सहयोगमा विभिन्न प्रयासहरुको थालनी भयो र माओवादी सैन्य समायोजन पछि दशवर्षे द्धन्द्धको लगभग अन्त्य भयो ।
देशमा प्रथम र दोस्रो गरी दुई संविधान सभाको चुनाव भए तापनि व्यवसायिक वातावरण सुधार हुन सकेन । यसको प्रमुख कारणहरु तल प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ ।

१. ऊर्जा अभाव
ऊर्जा कम आपुर्ति हुनु नै आद्योगिक विकास नहुनुको पहिलो समस्या हो किनभने उद्यमीहरुले विद्युत उपलब्ध नभएपछि यसको विकल्पमा डिजेल जेनेरेटर चलाएर विद्युत आपूर्ति गर्नुपर्दछ । यसले कुनै पनि उत्पादन मुलक कार्यको लागत वृद्धि गरिदिन्छ जसको कारणले गर्दा मुनाफा कम हुन्छ । यसरी लामो समयावधिसम्म लोडसेडिङ् हुने र अन्य विकल्प अपनाउँदा लागत अत्याधिक बढ्ने हुनाले भएका उद्योग र कल–कारखानाहरु पनि बन्द हुने क्रममा छन् । यसका अतिरिक्त, विद्युत आपूर्ति भएको समयमा पनि समय–समयमा ट्रिपिङ्को समस्या हुन्छ र यसरी एक्कासी विजुली जाने कारणले गर्दा चलिरहेको मेसिन बिग्रने जस्ता समस्या सृजित भएको छ । भैरहवा र वीरगंज जस्ता औद्योगिक करिडोरहरुमा यो समस्या अत्याधिक देखिएको छ ।

२. श्रम सम्बन्ध
श्रमिक हक हितका लागि यूनियन आवश्यक भए तापनि नेपालका श्रमिक यूनियनहरु पार्टीगत रुपमा विभाजन भएको हुनाले राजनीतिक रंग बढी देखिन्छ । उनीहरुले आफूले काम गर्ने उद्योग भन्दा पनि राजनैतिक पार्टीको एजेण्डा बढी बोक्ने र त्यसैको आधारमा बन्द एवं हड्ताल जस्ता क्रियाकलाप गर्ने हुनाले यो क्षेत्र अस्थिर रहेको छ । यसका अलावा नेपालमा काम गर्ने श्रमिकहरुको शिक्षा, तालिम, इच्छाशक्ति आदिको अभावमा उत्पादकत्व बढ्न नसकेको र उत्पादकत्वको तुलनामा नेपाली श्रमिकहरुको ज्याला पनि महँगो पर्न गएको छ । यसका अतिरिक्त नेपालमा श्रमिकहरुलाई हायर र फायर गर्न सकिने नीति नभएको हुँदा पनि धेरै लगानीकर्ताहरु नेपालको औद्योगिक क्षेत्रममा लगानी गर्न डराउँछन् किनभने आवश्यकता नभएको समयमा कर्मचारीहरु कटौती गर्न नसकिने हुनाले लगानीकर्ताको अनावश्यक लागत बढाउँछ र अन्य व्ययभार थपिदिन्छ ।

३. व्यापार व्यवधान
आजको विश्वमा व्यापारको महत्व वढ्दै गइरहेको छ तर नेपालमा सीमा व्यापार झन्झटिलो छ किनभने कुनै पनि वस्तु आयात तथा निर्यात गर्न कठीन छ । अप्ठ्यारा भन्सारको प्रक्रिया, बन्दरगाह संचालनमा रहेको पारम्परिक विधि आदि र भौतिक पूर्वाधारमा रहेको कमिको कारणले व्यापारको लागत र समय बढाइदिन्छ । विश्व बैंकले निकालेको डुईङ विजनेसको प्रतिवेदन अनुसार कुनै पनि सामान निर्यात गर्नका लागि नेपालमा ११ वटा कागजातहरु चाहिन्छ जबकि विकसित राष्ट्रहरुमा जम्मा ४ वटा र दक्षिण एसियाली राष्ट्रहरुमा औसत ८ वटा कागजपत्रहरु तयार पारे पुग्दछ । लामो कागजी प्रक्रियाले गर्दा धेरै सन्दर्भमा कतिपय सामानहरु भन्सारमा रहेर बिग्रने, हराउने र समयमा आवश्यक परेको ठाउँमा पु¥याउन नसक्दा दण्ड जरिवाना तिर्नुपर्ने वा अर्को पटकदेखि माग नै नआउने जस्ता समस्या देखापर्दछ । त्यसैले यस प्रक्रियालाई पनि समयानुकुल बनाउनुपर्दछ ।

४. कर तिर्नमा कठिनाइ
देश विकास गर्नको लागि करको भूमिका उल्लेखनीय हुन्छ । विदेशी सहयोग र सहायतामा विकास निर्माणका कार्यहरु गर्नु भन्दा आफ्नै साधन र स्रोतमा गर्दा परियोजनाको लागत कम हुनुका साथै प्रत्यक्ष र परोक्ष रुपमा हुने विदेशी हस्तक्षेप पनि कम हुन्छ । यी र अन्य कारणहरुले गर्दा हाम्रो देशमा पनि करदाताहरुको संख्या क्रमशः बढदै गइरहेको छ । यति हुँदाहुादै पनि आश्चर्य लाग्ने विषय के छ भने नेपालमा कुनै पनि उद्योग व्यवसायको कर तिर्न कर दाताले औसत रुपमा ३२६ घण्टा सयम खर्चनु पर्दछ जुन भूटान बाहेक अन्य देशहरु भन्दा खराब हो । त्यसैले गर्दा कर तिर्ने सुगमतामा नेपाल विश्वव्यापी रुपमा ११४औं स्थानमा छ । सन् २००८ देखि नै यस क्षेत्रमा खासै ठूलो सुधार देखिएको छैन ।

५. करार कार्यान्वयन
करार कार्यान्वयनको विषयमा भन्ने हो भने स्थिति अझ नाजुक छ किनभने करार कार्यान्वयनमा नेपालको स्थिति निराशाजनक छ । करार कार्यान्वयनका लागि ९१० दिन लाग्दछ भने माग गरेको २६.८ प्रतिशत रकम यस प्रक्रियामा नै खर्च हुन्छ । यसैको फलस्वरुप इच्छुक लगानीकर्ताहरु पनि नेपालमा लगानी गर्न अग्रसर हुदैनन् । उद्योग क्षेत्रमा भएको नगन्य लगानी पनि उचित वातावरणको अभावमा बंगलादेश, भारत, श्रीलंका लगायत अन्य देशमा स्थानान्तर भएको छ ।

यी सब प्रतिकुलताहरुले गर्दा नेपालमा उद्यमी, व्यवसायी एवं साधारण नेपालीहरुले गरि खाने वातावरण सृजना हुन सकेन । यसको परिणाम स्वरुप नेपालमा औद्योगिक क्षेत्रमा लगानी विकर्षण हुँदै गइरहेको छ । त्यसैले नेपालको औद्योगिक क्षेत्रलाई सन् नब्बेको दशकमा झैं सुनौलो दिनहरुमा लैजान र देश भित्र नै रोजगारको अवसर सृजना गर्न माथि उल्लेख गरिएका विषयमा सुधार गर्नुपर्दछ ।

Pramod Rijal

About Pramod Rijal

Pramod Rijal is a Research Associate at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation. He is also a lecturer of Economics at Mega National and Unique College of Management and has contributed a number of articles in various national dailies.

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Re-thinking Public Enterprises in Nepal

When public enterprises were first introduced in Nepal during late fifties and early sixties the scenario was quiet different from what it is now.  The presence of private sector in the market was negligible and thus it made sense for the government to take control of the economy and establish several public enterprises. The government, in order to fulfill its duty of serving the people along with providing them essential goods and services, established one enterprise after other. The rate of establishment was such that at a point in time there existed 61 public enterprises–from water and food to cement and air services and everything in between–most of them monopolized the sector. Their number has been reduced to 37 today but their return in terms of goods and services to the people and profit-making for the government is questionable.

Almost six decades have passed us by and  instead of improving the services these enterprises have imposed an enormous burden on the taxpayers as well as the government. While the debate on public enterprises continues–some favor putting in more efforts and improving the management while others opt for a complete privatization. While this happens in the backdrop,  we bring to you facts on public enterprises that simply cannot be overlooked or neglected anymore. Since resources (esp. monetary) is already scarce in the country it would not be wrong for us to ask the government to use the resources in productive areas rather than pouring in taxpayers’ hard earned money into ineffective enterprises.

Public Entreprise Infograph

 

Koshish Acharya

About Koshish Acharya

Acharya is a student of social sciences and has been associated with Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation for the last three years.

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Multiple Buyers in Nepalese Electricity Market

Multiple-Choices-Nepal-Electricity-Authority

The perennial problem of load shedding in Nepal will never be resolved unless we get over temporary fix mindset and start considering longer term solution. The answer lies in constructing storage type projects and expansion of cross border electricity trade with India.

The large reservoir based projects provide a suitable alternative by generating sufficient amount of electricity even during the dry season.

What makes this proposition even more viable is, that there is a complementary demand-supply relationship between the two countries regarding the use of electricity. An average Indian household in the neighboring states of West Bengal, UP and Bihar demands more electricity during the summer season when the use of electrical appliances like refrigerator, cooler and air conditioners is at its maximum. Ideally, this is the time when the generation capacity of the project would be peaking due to increased volume of water in the snow fed rivers of Nepal.
But besides power generation, Nepal also faces serious challenge in terms of efficient transmission and distribution of power. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), which is a monopoly buyer in Nepali electricity market also has sole control over its transmission and distribution system. Often NEA is blamed for prioritizing construction of transmission lines in projects where it is involved while ignoring projects built by private sector without its involvement. It is also blamed of spiking up Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) for such projects. Thus, an unfair playing field is created in the market which discourages national and international private developers.

Sadly, despite all the unfair advantages NEA has an operating loss of over eight billion rupees annually due to inefficient management, overstaffing, institutional corruption, over politicization and misuse of resources. For all the reasons mentioned here, it has not been able to strike a PPA deal with majority of private developers who are now running out of patience.

To cut the argument short, Nepal’s electricity market needs multiple buyers because the state owned NEA run by employees instead of entrepreneurs simply lacks strong motive to earn profit. Additionally, a salaried bureaucrat sitting at the top of a public institution does not have incentive to take unpopular decisions because these organizations are regulated by departments and ministries which have the final authority over the use and abuse of its resource.
Nevertheless, the private developers are still willing to invest in large storage type projects if they are provided higher rate in Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) and if the government is willing to bring effective resettlement and land acquisition policy. This is possible when there are multiple buyers in electricity market who are compelled to provide higher price to sustain their market in the long run. Multiple buyers in Nepali electricity market will attract more private investments, increase efficiency of human resource, enhance technical growth and improve customer satisfaction as different parties compete to win their market share. It also promotes innovation and lowers the costs of production by taking risks on new ideas which have greater public value.

Nepal has seen positive changes in telecommunications after restructuring of Nepal Telecommunication Authority and opening market in this sector for other players. Today, price of various telecommunication products and customer services has become more competitive in every respect. Similar changes are seen in education, health, media, banking and entertainment sector after the end of government monopoly and arrival of domestic and foreign private players.

However, privatization is not without challenges in a developing market like ours. And in hydropower sector which has limited number of players given the size and level of investment required, the risk of price cartelling and syndication instead of competitive market pricing is unusually high. When that happens, the strategy of deregulation could easily backfire, taking monopoly out of state’s hand only to give it back to a bunch of crony capitalists hungry for unlimited profit.

Therefore, the government must play it smart and open up Nepali electricity market to multiple buyers, but with proper policies that helps us harness and access this resource at an affordable price. The mantra should be to make profit but the intent must be to provide public service as well because quality electricity is not just a product anymore, it is also a right.

Pramod Rijal

About Pramod Rijal

Pramod Rijal is a Research Associate at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation. He is also a lecturer of Economics at Mega National and Unique College of Management and has contributed a number of articles in various national dailies.

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