By Modnath Dhakal
Dhulikhel, Sept. 28: Vice-President for the South Asia Region of the World Bank (WB) Hartwig Schafer has said that the government target for the economic growth of 8.5 per cent in the current fiscal year 2019/20 could be met if the country created enough employment.
“Growth target for this year is possible but it is not absolute. It depends on other external factors as well,” he said while talking to journalists in Dhulikhel, Kavre, following his field observation of the housing reconstruction in Panauti Municipality on Friday.
“Economic situation in Nepal can be directly affected by the economic condition in the neighbouring and labour destination countries. It can be subjective to whether the labour demand continues to grow,” he added.
According to Schafer, the country should create enough jobs to engage youth and to lubricate the growth, and the employment should come primarily from the production and private sector.
Therefore, the government should work to increase the access to finance in order to facilitate the entrepreneurs and businesses to take up new initiatives and create more jobs, he said.
Based on the vary principle, the multilateral agency is going to support the government in its flagship ‘Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP)’.
The WB is supporting the government to create an overall entrepreneurial system in the country which would be the backbone with required database and execution modalities.
“The PMEP is trying to create a basic system for employment and in the first year of its implementation, it has delivered some good results as well. Besides,
we have approved Youth Employment and
Transformation Initiative (YETI) project which aims to create job opportunities and improve labour market outcome in the country,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, Country Manger of the WB in Nepal.
The WB has agreed to support 120 million US Dollars for the project that aims at benefitting about 100,000 young people, especially women. Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security will execute the YETI project.
According to the WB, the project will work at the federal, provincial and local levels through an integrated set of demand and supply-side interventions to strengthen employment promotion systems and services and improve job outcomes and livelihoods for young men and women.
Schafer said that the bank was pleased with the partnership with Nepal and satisfied with the progress it made in the implementation of federalism.
“There is no country in the world which had transited from the heavily centralised system to 3-tier federalism in such a short time,” he said and suggested that the government should work on increasing the revenue in order to meet the growing operational as well development demands.
He promised WB support to Nepal in increasing revenue generation.
“Nepal is a prominent leader in hydroelectricity and tourism in South Asia, but it immediately focuses on infrastructure development to harness benefits from these two,” he said.
He said that the announcement of the additional 300 million US Dollars support to Nepal for the housing reconstruction was the testimony of the multilateral donor’s commitment not to abandon Nepal in the middle of the post-quake rebuilding. He also suggested that the reconstruction of the housing, infrastructure and livelihood should go hand in hand.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) said that the reconstruction body would provide technical support in the reconstruction of the urban settlements in and around the heritage area.
He also said that half of the 5,000 families that needed relocation had shifted to safer places.