Eight months have elapsed since KP Sharma Oli assumed the prime ministerial post for the second time, after the Left Alliance won a two-thirds majority in the legislative elections held in November and December of 2017. The outright victory for the alliance of two major communist parties of the country, namely CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist-Center), who later in May united to become the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), was largely made possible on the back of the coalition’s electoral promises of political stability, economic development and good governance. Nevertheless, the last eight months have proved nothing more than a period of unfulfi lled promises, ineff ective governance, insecurity and a time of fear for the country’s private sector leading Nepali citizens to a state of despair. Many have already started to think that the all-powerful government led by Oli will not be able to deliver anything of signifi cance other than to publicly keep on repeating the commitments for the next 52 months until the tenure of the government is over.
Providing security to citizens is the foremost responsibility of any government. However, the government has failed to make the people feel more secure so that they can carry on with their daily lives. It has been more than 60 days since Nirmala Pant of Bhimduttanagar, Kanchanpur was found dead on July 26. Her rape and murder shocked the whole country and created a nationwide outrage. But the police and the administration have failed to investigate this horrifi c crime properly and to bring the culprits to justice. Similarly, the government has left the investigation of the 33 kg gold smuggling case hanging at the midway point. The investigations into these two cases have not been moving ahead in a reliable manner. It is an irony that the home minister and other top government offi cials have repeatedly committed themselves to solving the cases to ensure the rule of law. In the meantime, the activities of some ministers have demotivated the private sector. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Yadav has been overtly bashing industrialists and businesspersons lecturing them to ‘conduct business in ethical ways.’ On August 8, he led a team to the plant of Probiotech Industries at Birgunj, collected the unfi nished edible oil in bottles as ‘samples’, labeled the company’s product as ‘substandard’ without any proof or evidence. The factory was sealed by the authorities on August 23, which lasted till September 14. The offi cials did not provide any explanation or reasons as to why the order to seal the plant was given and why it was then lifted. This shows the level of apathy towards the rule of law and globally accepted norms of inspection/monitoring among the people in the government.
These few examples show the government is not on the right track to fulfi ll its obligations. Mathematically, the PM Oli led government is considered as the strongest in the parliamentary history of Nepal. However, its activities have sowed a sense of disbelief among the general people. If these dubious actions continue, the two-thirds majority of the government will lose its credibility and meaning. This situation will ultimately erode the confi dence of the members of the private sector who hoped for an improved business environment after the end of the long and painful political transition. Investors who are ready to invest will backtrack on their plans. The people in the government must adhere to the laws, rules and regulations in the first place. At a time when the country needs more investments to fulfi ll the aspirations of economic development, the situation of non-implementation of laws and the reliance of people on the discretionary powers of high offi cials will only foster impunity which will further dampen the prospects of an already weak investment climate.