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Failures of Oli Administration

Issue July 2019

Failures of Oli Administration

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Not even a week had passed since the scandalous decision on conducting the test for pesticide in the vegetables imported from India was suspended, Prime Minister Oli must have been engaged in the damage control measures again, as the transporters, and businesspeople had been protesting against the “Vehicle & Consignment Tracking System (VCTS), and Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on the transportation cost starting on July 17, 2019: the first day of the FY 2019 (2076) causing the goods trucks stranded on both sides of border between Nepal and India, and stalling the export and import causing decrease in earning revenue. Prime Minister Oli had no time to talk about the “Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepalis” not to mention the zero tolerance of corruption.


The Oli administration has been again in the damage control mission because the goods-transporting trucks had been held on both sides of border causing the traffic come to a standstill. Transporters had been protesting against the enforcement of VCTS, and VAT applied on the transportation starting on July 17, 2019: the first day of the FY 2019 (2076).


Following the VCTS, importers and exporters, custom agents, transporters, industries, distributors and wholesalers carrying various goods for the commercial purposes have to reach the and then every driver or truck has to enter the brief description of the means of transportation and the goods s/he or it carries before transporting the goods from one place to another across Nepal, the ad in the front page of “gorkhapatra” stated on July 17, 2019.


Both the businesspeople and transporters have been protesting against both the VCTS and the VAT because the country had no infrastructures for digital VCTS, and the transporters had no ability to keep the accounts to suit the VAT.


They have been against the VCTS because the infrastructures had not been developed to perform the digital actions as the State had instructed. They argued that the drivers who almost all of them have only a few years of schooling have no ability to complete the digital actions means to enter the brief description of truck and goods, and also the drivers had surely no access to the Internet everywhere, and they had to carry laptops even if they could do the digital actions.


So, they have said that the infrastructures for reaching the have not been in the country, and the transporters or truck drivers have not been computer literate so that they could reach the website and enter the description of the trucks and the goods they carry. So, the State needed to provide the truck drivers with the computer education, and WiFi elsewhere to enter the description as the State wanted.


Transporters have to register for VAT, and pay VAT on the prices of the transportation starting on the first day of the FY 2019 (2076). They also said that the VAT is applicable to the consumers not to the transporters. So, they are protesting against the enforcement of the need for registering the transporters with the VAT.


The transporters have stopped their business causing the trucks stranded on both sides of the border between Nepal and India causing adverse impact on import and export, and the tremendous decrease in the custom duties at the Bhairawa and Nepalgunj Custom Offices, the news on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” stated on July 20, 2019.


Speaking to the anchor of “thenewsplus” morning program of the Tha-ha FM, coordinator of the transport workers Gokarna Prasad Parajuli said on the morning of July 20, 2019 that they were not against the VCTS but the State needed to create the infrastructures so that the folks transporting the goods could follow the instructions, and they should have the means to reach the website. He said that if a truck driver had to load rice in a field and then transport it, how the driver enter the description of his truck and the rice he would carry without having a laptop and the Internet connection. His question was whether such a truck driver could have the Internet connection and the laptop in the current situation everywhere. He also said that the government had let the Indian trucks move freely without having to do anything with all the formalities whereas the Nepalese trucks had to pay road tolls, and one rupee per liter of diesel for the maintenance of roads and so on not to mention the hassle of the traffic police. Coordinator Parajuli also said that the State could not simply copy the foreign system and then paste it in Nepal without creating the infrastructures for such a system.


Thus, the Oli administration had provoked the transporters and business folks alike into the protest against the most infeasible system of VCTS (according to the transporters) that the Oli administration had enforced apparently for the systematic and transparent transportation of goods, and for keeping the records of the goods and trucks going elsewhere across the country. Thus, the finance minister and his advisors and the State employees that had designed and implemented the VCTS had demonstrated how ignorant of the availability of the infrastructures required for the application of VCTS.


The news on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” stated on July 21, 2019 that the VAT could not be enforced starting on July 17, 2019 because of the protest of the transporters against its enforcement; the government has set up a task force to study the enforcement of VAT, and then submit a report on it so that the government could take an appropriate actions. Obviously, the government had stepped back from the enforcement of VAT on the transporters.


The federation of petroleum transporters had said that the abrupt application of VAT on the transporters without any advance preparation for it had caused tremendous hassle. They said that they needed at least one year to be prepared for it. They also said that they were not against paying tax but most of the petroleum transporters were individuals taking loans from banks had been running the tankers so they had no such capacity to keep any account hiring an accountant; so, they would not be able to register for VAT. They were ready to make one lump sum payment once a year, the news on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” stated on July 21, 2019.


So, the enforcement of VCTS and VAT would be another failure of the Oli administration after the government shamefully retracted the test for pesticide in the vegetables imported from India after the Indian embassy in Kathmandu sent a letter to the Oli administration, which once stood so proudly and firmly against the Indian blockade in 2015.


The recent abortive introduction of conducting the test for pesticide contained in the vegetables imported from India had been a disaster for the Oli administration, and even after the ruling of the Supreme Court to continue the test for the pesticide, it had not been honored so far, as the Oil administration had been for honoring the Indian letter that had stated to stop the test for the pesticide in the Indian vegetables than the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal as of July 21, 2019.


The Oli administration had tried to introduce a bill on the Guthi land with the clear intention of legally looting the Guthi land and assets. It provoked a great movement of the stakeholders for saving the cultural heritages and religion, and it created the awareness of the need for being together against any state attempts on legalizing the loot of the public property, thanks to the minister for land, and to the three Tharu lawmakers that had strongly advocated for seizing the Guthi land and distributing it to the landless people. The movement for saving the cultural and religious heritages must have taught a good lesson to the Oli administration; however, one failed event after another had indicated that the Oli administration had to learn lessons, yet.


On Saturday, July 20, 2019, the members of the Pachali Bhairav Guthi had demolished the foundation of a school building set on the Guthi land; they had charged the ward chairman and the mayor of the Kathmandu Metropolitan city for deliberately allowing the school administration to construct a school building on the Guthi land without even informing the Guthi members, as the videos posted on facebook demonstrated. Some of those guys had regretted voting for the election symbol “sun” of the ruling party.


The indigenous and disadvantaged folks had been protesting against the Public Service Commission putting up an ad for recruiting 9,000 staffers for the local governments without honoring the reservation made for the indigenous, and disadvantaged people. They had been demanding the resignation of the minister for general administration. The Oli administration had not step back, yet but the protest continued. The Oli administration did not care about whether it had violated the constitution or not.


One of the greatest failures of the Oli administration had been the Melamchi Drinking Water Project. The main culprit had been the Public Procurement Act, which had given the free hands to the decision makers to increase the cost of the project, to extend the time of completion of projects, and to compensate the contractors for the rise in the prices of construction materials. All these three provisions discouraged the decision makers and contractors to complete the projects in time but the Oli administration had not been in a mood to amend this notorious Act called Public Procurement Act to suit the development projects.


The news on the front page of “gorkhapatra” stated on July 21, 2019 that the Kathmandu Valley folks had to wait for another one-and-a-half year before getting the Melamchi water, as two tenders for constructing a tunnel and two for a headwork were received, all the tenders had been evaluated and sent them to the Asian Development Bank for approval. Unfortunately, the multi-lateral agency such as Asian Development Bank has been providing the credit no matter what the Oli administration had been doing.


Recently, Prime Minister Oli must have been spending his entire office time on the damage control, the cost of which must have reached the crisis stage. The Oli administration had been dangerously unpopular, and the NCP had suffered from the damage of its reputation because of the tendency of its ministers to grab whatever was possible without having absolutely any consideration for the welfare of the common folks.


The populism of Prime Minister Oli such as “Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepalis,” and the zero toleration of corruption had taken a back seat. Nobody in the cabinet, neither Oli nor the spokesman for the cabinet had any time for talking about the populist slogans. They had been engaged in the cover-up of their mistakes. For example, Prime Minister Oli said that he was misled concerning the receipt of the Indian letter on conducting the test for pesticide in the vegetables imported from India. Then, the minister for supplies repeated the same story. The minister for agriculture said that the test for pesticide was suspended because Nepal had not facilities to do so whereas the experts had been saying on the FM radios that Nepal has sufficient facilities for conducting the quick test for pesticide in vegetables.


July 21, 2019

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