Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation- Gari Khana Deu! secretariat and Nepal Economic Forum (NEF) organized a round table discussion titled “Economic Concerns in the Draft Constitution” on 14 July 2015 with hopes of engaging the public and the private sector on economic issues.

Debates and discussions, starting from the period of civil unrest in the mid 1990s, revolve on issues related to human rights almost without fail. Yet, even with the close tie of private property ownership with human rights, the former is often ignored. Sujeev Shakya, who moderated the event, set the tone for the discussion by bringing to light the fact that this draft of the constitution seems to want to steer the nation away from the liberalization reform that was initiated in the early 1990s.

Of the deliberations that occurred at the event, the ones pointed out by moderator at the conclusion of the event were:

  • The draft has an unclear, and even, contradictory economic vision and the desired direction to achieve growth is not clearly stated.
  • A welfare model is prescribed without proper economic and political climate that is supportive of such commitments.
  • The draft is pessimistic of the role the private sector can play in the country’s growth in a time when evidence from around the world clearly highlight its positive influence.
  • The draft proposes an inferior tax regime and inadequately addresses issues for the harmonization of state and national government roles.

The fact that a constitution is the country’s supreme law and only the most important necessary points that help create an environment free of conflict and doubt encourages and promotes efficiency between the various aspects of the nation seems to be missed. Hence, the draft reads as if it came to be merely as amalgamation of various groups’ demands and not as a central law that helps shape other laws and guides a country truly towards prosperity. The statement, for instance, wherein Nepal is described as socialism-oriented and never once a market-oriented country completely undermines all the developments that have occurred in the past 25 years and the liberalization era that steered the country towards whatever improvements that have occurred.

View the full report here.