NDC finalises first federal periodic plan
By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, Apr. 5: The National Development Council (NDC) has passed the concept paper of the 15th Plan (2019/20 – 2024/25) with a long-term concept for 2042.
The first national development plan after the implementation of federalism and first five-year plan after a row of four 3-year periodic plans includes the roadmap to graduate the country to the status of developing one from the current Least Developed Country (LDC) by 2022, be a middle-income nation by 2030 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This five-year plan will lay the foundation for higher economic growth and national prosperity. We have to work at a war-footing to improve the situation in education, health, governance, human development and infrastructure development in order to ensure a happy and prosperous life to our citizens,” Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said while addressing the concluding ceremony of the two-day meeting of the NDC, organised by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
The Prime Minister also chairs the NDC.
He said that he would not hesitate to take stern decisions for the development when required.
He said that all the institutions of three levels of the government should move ahead in tandem and create equilibrium to achieve the national development goals.
“We have adopted a socialism-oriented economic system which is the best system in the world. When you combine justice to the prosperity, it becomes socialism,” said the PM.
Political leaders, planning experts, representatives of the government of all three levels, private sector leaders and other stakeholders have tendered their suggestions on the concept paper which will be incorporated in the draft of the plan.
The plan will formally come into operation after the Cabinet approves it.
Vice chairman of the NPC Prof. Dr. Pushpa Raj Kandel said that although the planning body did not have sufficient human resources, it would put its efforts to submit the plan’s draft to the Cabinet.
“I can’t say exactly when we will be able to send the document to the Cabinet, but we will try to make it early,” he said while talking to journalists after the NDC meeting on Thursday.
He maintained that there were challenges to implement the plan in the new federal structure since the new governance system was yet to get the required institutions and sufficient resources.
“But it has got assurance from the PM and Finance Minister Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada for efficient implementation and resource management,” said. Dr. Kandel.
Dr. Khatiwada said the implementation of the new plan would begin with the formulation of the budget for the next fiscal year 2019/20.
“Resource management is still challenging to achieve the development targets set by the draft of the 15th plan,
but when there is a high rate of economic growth, we will have higher domestic saving as well,” he said.
He said that the planning body would now make a functional, economic and SDG-based costing of the development plan which also has incorporated targets for the private sector’s contribution as well.
Secretary at the NPC Laxman Aryal said that the new periodic envisioned creating macro-economic stability in the country and increasing the economic growth rate up to 10.3 per cent by the end of the five-year plan. Minimum average economic growth rate will be 9.4 per cent.
But he said that to achieve the set growth rate, the national pride projects should be completed in the next five years, and import of agricultural goods should be limited to 20 per cent.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader of Nepali Congress Bijay Gachchhadar pointed towards the importance of national statistical system for the effective implementation of the development plan. He also suggested enhancing the capacity of the human resources to achieve the desired results.
Participants of the meeting had raised the issues like integrated settlement, smart city, socialisation of education and health services, reliable statistical system and resource backing for large infrastructure projects.
They recommended developing a strong mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of the development projects.