Kathmandu, 18 February 2016:Â The relation between government and the private sectors regarding the economic development in Nepal has mostly been bittersweet. Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation on February 17, hosted a special economic policy session termed â€˜Econityâ€™ with Dr. Eamonn Butler, Director â€“ Adam Smith Institute (UK) as the featured speaker and Niranjan Shrestha, Executive Director â€“ Laxmi Group and Immediate Past President, NYEF (Nepalese Young Entrepreneursâ€™ Forum) at Hotel Annapurna, Durbarmarg that marked discussions on â€˜Engaging the private sector in economic policy reformâ€™. Econ-ity is Samriddhi Foundationâ€™s regular discussion platform for sharing perspectives from different sides on political economic agendas that are important in the contemporary context.
Dr. Eamonn Butler is Founder and Director of the Adam Smith Institute (ASI). ASI has been influential in several public sector & tax reforms in the UK and was ranked 7th in global think tank rankings in 2013, making Dr. Butler an excellent resource person to talk about how private sector can play a constructive role in economic policy reform. He reflected on how entrepreneurs and the private sector engaged in policy debates in England and how this had been beneficial. His talks also touched upon what gave rise to policy corruption and what safeguards could potentially help prevent corruption while engaging the private sector in economic policy reform. Dr.Butler â€“ â€˜Wealth comes from creative genius of free people working on their self-interest, not plans from government agenciesâ€™. He presented Ten Commandments on the inter-relationship between politics and entrepreneurship and also stressed on how growth should be bottom-up rather than top-down, a point which most participants agreed with. He stated how private businesses spread out risks, because if one private business fails, it becomes only one entrepreneurâ€™s problem but when a state-owned business fails, it becomes a public taxpayer concern.
Â Niranjan Shrestha talked about the similar experiences in Nepal. He elaborated on the role of the private sector in policy reform in the country and the need to encourage this trend. Shrestha also touched upon how the private sector was usually viewed as entities with vested interest rather than innovators and job-creators. He pinpointed three factors in particular that were needed for economic progress: rule of law, equal playing ground for all and a positive view of profit.
The remaining hour of the program focused on the various questions put forward by the participants and a lively discussion lively discussion amongst well-known bureaucrats, economists, policymakers, politicians and journalists. Participants and panelists exchanged ideas on how best the private sector could be engaged in the economic policy reform and its importance. A number of questions were raised on the role of trade-unions becoming political aides rather than representing real worker interests and how this had been handled in the UK. Additionally, there were also questions on what ideals Nepal could borrow from the UK in terms of economic reform and if Nepal could witness another economic revolution. Dr. Butler shared his experiences of the Margaret Thatcher government in the UK, which had brought about a number of such revolutionary changes such as allowing worker ownership in industries they worked for among others that helped drive the economic revolution in England. Participants also spoke on the need for private companies to maintain integrity whilst working for innovation and profit.
Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation is an independent policy institute based in Kathmandu that focuses on economic policy reform. Established in 2007, Samriddhi aims at facilitating a discourse on
pragmatic market based solutions for a free and prosperous Nepal. â€œEcon-ity,â€ is a live-audience and public forum for economic discussion providing economic analysis and discussion of economic challenges facing Nepal. This forum focuses on the most relevant contemporary issues in Nepalâ€™s economic discourse.