Nepal seeks donor support for economic growth


Kathmandu : The new government in Nepal led by the former Maoist rebels Thursday sought help from the country’s key international donors for continued financial assistance.

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The meeting between the government and representatives of donor countries and organisations was the first since the Maoist-led government was sworn in earlier this month.

It was also an attempt to instil confidence within the donor community, which has been apprehensive about the Maoist commitment to free economy and democracy.

“We expect scaled-up support with reasonable flexibility to Nepal in the coming days,” said Finance Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai, who is also the second in command of the Maoist party.

“We will do our best to use the assistance in priority areas and enhance our implementation capacity,” Bhattarai told the meeting.

“We will also continue with reforms as long as they are proven best in the interest of the country even if they were inherited from the past or are new programmes.”

Bhattarai told donors that Nepal needed assistance in meeting food scarcity, reforming the fuel supply management, and in the hydro-electricity and agriculture sectors.

Bhattarai later told reporters the meeting had been successful in dispelling some of the concerns of the donor nations.

“We have assured the donor community about our commitment to liberalised economy and democratic system of governance although some representatives said our economic programmes were somewhat ambitious,” said Bhattarai.

In the run-up to the elections in April, the Maoists had made clear they would embrace private enterprise, although they fought a decade-long insurgency to convert the country into a communist republic.

The Maoists lead the three-party coalition government after becoming the single biggest party in the constituent assembly election in April.