PM Oli vows to develop ‘self-reliant economy’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 16, 2015-Pointing out Nepal’s over dependence on India as the main reason behind the massive impact of unofficial Indian embargo on Nepal, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday stressed on the need to learn from this fact.

“It should open our eyes and it should serve as a lesson,” Oli said in a televised address to the nation. Two-thirds of Nepal’s total trade volume takes place with India and the country is fully dependent on its southern neighbour for the supply of petroleum products and about 60 percent of the country’s medicine demands.

Oli said that the unofficial Indian embargo since the last one and half months had pushed the country on the brink of humanitarian and economic crisis as cargo trucks, carrying fuel, medicine and food items have been held up on the Indian side of border.

“The closure of industries, decline in tourist arrivals, closure of customs points have pushed the economy into a crisis,” he said.

Given this context, Oli said that the current crisis showed that Nepal’s trade relation is unbalanced and one-sided said Oli. “It will be our duty to take necessary steps to develop an economy that is self-reliant.” 

The PM also presented Nepal’s decision to import fuel from China in this light. “The decision [importing fuel from China] is not directed against any country. It is an effort to make Nepal’s trade relations diversified and balanced,” Oli said, brushing off reports in a section of Indian media of growing Chinese influence over Nepal.

Nepal Oil Corporation and PetroChina had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) two weeks ago for commercial import of fuel from China. The northern neighbour has also gifted 1.3 million litres of petrol to Nepal, which is currently being transported into the country from the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point.

Thanking Beijing for providing fuel in grant at the time of crisis, PM Oli said that Nepal would make efforts to import petroleum products and other goods needed for the country from China. “The roads linking China will be upgraded and efforts will also be made to bring fuel from other friendly countries,” he said. An NOC team has already  reached Bangladesh to discuss the possibility of importing fuel from there.  

The PM also said that the government would focus on the development of alternative energy. “I have already announced that ending load shedding within a year and prioritising bio-gas to reduce dependence on liquefied petroleum gas will be on top of the government’s agenda,” he said. 

The government will prioritise completing under-construction hydropower projects, transmission line, encourage investors willing to invest in small- and medium-scale hydropower projects and ease power purchase agreement procedures.

Published: 16-11-2015 08:58

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