How correct are Congress spokesman’s claims about white paper?

Sujit Mainali / April 26, 2018

Nepali Congress spokesman Bishwa Prakash Sharma.                                                      Photo: Youtube/AP1TV

While criticizing the white paper issued by Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada on March 30, 2018, Bishwa Prakash Sharma, spokesperson of Nepali Congress, speaking at a function in Kathmandu said that the white paper has highlighted only the negative aspects of Nepal’s economy and deliberately ignored the positive sides.

To substantiate this argument, Sharma further said, “The finance minister says that in the eyes of foreign investors, the investment atmosphere in Nepal is not favorable. He has also mentioned that Nepal ranks 105th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, which is correct. But what he has forgotten is that we have in fact improved our position and now climbed to 105th from 107th position two years ago.”

The statistics quoted by Sharma is correct. “Doing Business Index 2018” published by the World Bank in 2017 has ranked Nepal in 105th position. The “Doing Business Index” issued two years before, in 2016, had ranked Nepal in 107th position.

But it is not correct to assume that investment atmosphere has been continually improving in Nepal. The “Doing Business Index 2016” published in 2015 had ranked Nepal in 99th position, which means investment atmosphere in Nepal is less favorable now than in 2016.

While commenting on the white paper, Sharma further said, “The finance minister citing the ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’ published by the World Bank has said Nepal ranks in 122nd position in the index. He is correct. But he has forgotten that Nepal was in 132nd position last year and has succeeded in climbing ten notches in just one year.”

Here, Sharma has made some factual errors. First of all, “Corruption Perceptions Index” is published by the Transparency International, not by the World Bank. In the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, Nepal was in 122nd position. One year earlier, in 2016, Nepal’s position was 131st.

But if we study “Corruption Perceptions Index” issued over the last ten years, we can conclude that corruption has increased in Nepal. In 2008, Nepal was in 121st position and now it is in 122nd position. Nepal fared worst in 2011 when it slipped to 154th position but in 2013 it dramatically climbed to 116th position.


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