As the November elections of the second Constituent Assembly approach fast, Nepal's private sector is wary of what economic policies the political parties will bring after the election results are out.
Entrepreneurs are especially concerned that the parties may announce one economic policy, but won’t maintain consistency and may very often even change the policy without solid ground or vision. Even when an economic policy exists relatively for a longer period, its execution side always remains lackluster.
In view of these genuine issues, Nepal's private sector, represented by various business and industrial organisations, has started pre-election advocacy campaign so that they can educate leaders of various parties on the significance of economic agenda.
To achieve their target, the private sector entrepreneurs are either sending their delegation to the offices of various political parties, or are organising interactive workshops with key political leaders.
Only a few days ago, a delegation of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) visited the office of CPN-UML and sought commitment on key economic issues. Subsequently, similar delegations were sent to Nepali Congress and UCPN (Maoist) later.
"Political parties need to express a common understanding and commitment at least in some pertinent economic issues," opined Suraj Baidya, the FNCCI president. “If the parties agree on common policies and programs for developing hydro electricity, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and some few other sectors and include them in their election manifesto, the pace of development will not be obstructed even at the time of political instability."
In response to private sector's advocacy, political parties have vowed that they would certainly incorporate economic agenda right in their election manifestos.
"Our latest party convention held in Hetauda (of central Nepal) has mandated us to work for boosting up production. It means that the economic agenda of private sector will be a prominent feature of our election manifesto," said Dilli Raj Khanal, a member of UCPN (Maoist)'s Manifesto Preparation Committee.
Gagan Thapa, a member of Nepali Congress's Manifesto Preparation Committee said that his party's earlier manifestos were vague on economic issues. "This time around, we will clearly define what economic sectors we are going to focus in the next five years," Thapa said.
Just like UCPN (Maoist) and Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML is also addressing the concerns of private sector in its manifesto, according to Pradip Gyawali, a member of the party's Manifesto Preparation Committee.
"We want to include our vision of a prosperous Nepal in the next 20 years. Our focus will be to attain significant level of economic growth based on social justice," Gyawali said.
Some major agenda that the private sector is pushing for include ensuring 2 million annual visitors to Nepal by 2020, construction of second international airport in Nijgadh of central Terai plains and upgrading airports in Pokhara and Lumbini to international airports.
End of political intervention in all development sectors including hydro power projects, fast-track road linking Kathmandu with Terai plains and construction of the mid-hill highway are also high on the private sector's agenda.
Nepal’s entrepreneurs are hopeful that the political parties will include economic agendas in their election manifesto. But it is yet to be seen how much they abide by their manifesto in the post-election scenario.