The government is all set to take a subsidized loan of 120 million US dollars, amounting to 13.62 billion Nepali rupees, from the US for the Prime Minister Employment Program. Subsidized loan is a type of loan that does not require the borrower to pay interest but rather has the interest paid by a third party. Any individual or entity can subsidize a loan including the federal or local governments and charitable organizations.
The government had launched the Prime Minister Employment Program in June this year from Bhaktapur with the budget of Rs 3.10 billion. Stating that the program is especially targeted towards youths, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had assured Nepalis across the country that the citizens would no longer have to rely on foreign employment for survival. However, less than six months into the program, it has garnered wide-spread criticism for the lack of its effective implementation.
The program offers 100 days employment a year for those in need. In the initial phase, people were employed to clear weeds, clean sewage and cut grass under the Prime Minister Employment Program.
According to government Spokesperson and Minister for Communication, Gokul Prasad Baskota, the government has decided to accept the subsidized loan offered by the US through World Bank. He said the amount would be used to organize skills training among other things. During the launch of the program in June, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, Gokarna Bista, had said that the program targeted to provide jobs to almost 500,000 people by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, economy experts have commented that such a move by the government could backfire because the employment program still lacks clear objectives. The lack of transparency regarding the effectiveness of the program as well as the failure to implement the program in its entirety show that the project is already going downhill. The government’s fresh move to drown itself in debt does not project the country’s future in a bright light.
As the NCP-led government, which boasts two-third majority in the parliament, has been launching one dreamy project after another, government authorities seem clueless about their implementation aspect. The government is also unclear on how it plans to pay the loan.