"It does not pay to have integrity"Prem Prasad Acharya's last testimony translated into English
Excerpted translation of the testimony that Prem Prasad Acharya left before self-immolation in front of Parliament on 24 January. The government has formed an investigation committee led by the secretary of the Home Ministry to look into his allegations. Acharya's wife Nanuka has filed an FIR with Police against 12 individuals and companies mentioned in the Facebook post for abetting the suicide.
I am an ordinary youth entrepreneur Prem Prasad Acharya (Santosh) born 17 August 1986 in Fikkal 11 Kerabari of Ilam district, Province 1. I was moving ahead in life fulfilling my responsibilities towards my family, society and country, weaving a colourful dream. But even after living through 36 springs, I have to admit the bitter truth that I have not been able to achieve much. Whether I was studying in this country, working, doing business, engaged in overseas employment, or running an industry, I encountered many problems and there were zero results. I beg your permission to open an account of all I went through in this social media post. This is a memoir, but also an account of my failures.
My father died of a brain tumour in 2010, when I was still young. I was married when my father was already ill, and I moved to Kathmandu to study and to work in a travel agency in Thamel. By then, our elder daughter was already born. I sold my inherited property in Fikkal and built a house in Budanilkantha and opened a travel agency. The business did well, until I faced problems with customers owing me money. Chinese tourists would not pay as agreed, on treks they would say we did not tell them that the trail was steep, or that they could not get Chinese food. They used all kinds of excuses not to pay in full. So, I switched to 10+2 students and started taking them on tea tourism excursions to Ilam, and even Darjeeling and Sikkim with my friend Yubaraj Gautam.
But Kathmandu’s 10+2 colleges would pay Rs300,000 of the Rs400,000 as advance, and use excuses not to pay the rest. They would say come back at exam time and we will give you money, etc. The biggest complaint was about food. What can I do about the quality of food available in this country, thanks to our government?
Kathford College wriggled out of paying Rs175,000, Saan International still owes Rs90,000, and many others who did not pay dues. But I had to pay salaries and rent for the Thamel office, and sank deeper in debt. I found that this country has been ruined by people borrowing. The market is full of looters. I had to rent cars to take tourists to Pokhara, Ghandruk or Nagarkot, so I decided to buy my own car. I opted for the Suzuki Ertiga, and approached NIC Asia for a loan with a Rs600,000 down payment and the rest in instalments. I could raise only Rs400,000 for the down payment, and couldn’t pay the rest to the showroom in time. I asked for a two months grace period, but they refused and took the car back. The Suzuki showroom in Thapathali never returned my Rs400,000. They cheat those who don’t have anything.
In the end, I had accumulated so much losses in the travel business that I couldn’t keep it afloat. Western tourists stopped coming, the Chinese and +2 colleges didn’t pay, and Indians didn’t want to spend anything. So I sold the travel business and decided to find work overseas. I had no house, property in Kathmandu and was deep in debt.
It took me 1 year to arrange for work abroad, and took care of my family by borrowing. Finally, I went to Qatar after being interviewed for Office Assistant, but within six months had been promoted to Sales and Marketing Manager with a salary of QAR5,000 with the company paying for food, lodging, vehicle and internet. What else did I need?
Working in Qatar between 2014-17, I managed to pay off all my debts and returned. On advice of my wife and relatives, I went back to my home district of Ilam and established Suryodaya Agro Industries & Farmhouse. That was a mistake. My intention was to not freeze my savings by investing in land, but to mobilise it by running a business, earning money and being an example to others. However, if I had invested in real estate, I would have made a five-fold profit.
While in Qatar I saw and ate fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and other products from Israel, Australia, Norway, etc. I was trying to emulate that by safely packing ghee, gundruk, akbare chillies, chutney and bamboo shoots and selling them in the market.
In the beginning I used to rent cars and take my products to Birtamod, Damak, Itahari, Dharan, and Biratnagar to sell them in small shops as well as Gorkha Department Store, Baraha Department Store, Satasi Department Store, NMC Cooperative. But the trouble was I never got the payments in time from those shops. I had to sell my products and wait to be paid later. Anyway, I had jumped into this and could not leave. Not only was there no profit, I was sinking deeper in debt.
I had to pay for factory operation costs, raw materials, tax, labour and staff salaries all in cash, but the stores would not pay. On paper, I was supposed to have a 30-35% margin, but the payments would finally come only in six months with some percentage in bad debts. I had to pay as much as 36% interest on loans because the bank was not lending to me anymore. To cover my losses, I had to borrow, and lost double or triple more money. I had to borrow more to pay back what I had borrowed. Some shops would even return the products saying they did not sell. The retailers would not take any risk.
I had household expenses, my savings were gone and I was in debt. And our society is so nosey, everyone is interested in everyone else’s affair, saying this person has changed his workplace again, is not stable in his job, he will not achieve anything in life, etc, and we have to accept those sermons and accusations.
I tried to take my own life several times, but was not able to. I tried to crash my car once, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t die because of my wife, children, and responsibilities. I started having phonephobia because of the calls. I used to feel calm when I was in a place with no network. I was depressed for 2-3 years, but no one understood me, and in fact they would be annoyed with me. I struggled, but lived.
After I found that scattered retailing was not getting me anywhere, I tried dealerships. But the government started harassing me and I couldn’t take my goods to Dharan and Biratnagar. They said a factory cannot do direct retailing! They said the VCTS system. This was just a way for the police along the way to ask for bribes. Once, I had to bribe the police Rs5,000. When I tried to sell Ilam vegetables in Kathmandu, the police asked for VCTS and had to distribute veggies to police checkpoints all along the way. If I didn’t give it to them, they would just pick it off the back of the car.
How much do you want to rob us? There is just looting everywhere. The car rental loots, police loots, the government loots with taxes, and retailers in shops also loot you. How else can we survive without selling property?
I applied for grants from Province 1 government for trading in agricultural products. I was even shortlisted. They used to assure me that I was sure to get the grant because I had a good business plan, selling quality products. But when the results came, my company was never on the list. The then ward chair of Suryodaya Rural Municipality-11 Tek Rai got two grants worth Rs300,000 and Rs 1 million. In the third year, his Sampang Boar Farm got a Rs2.5 million grant, Mr Mainali of Shangrila Tea Estate got Rs2.5 million as well as a vehicle and organic certification from the same government. We were left empty handed, and finally found out that to get a grant you needed to be a people’s representative, a party sidekick, or you had to bribe the grant office. It does not pay to have integrity.
Dealers and department stores needed VAT bills for transactions worth more than Rs5 million a year. That was another curse. Our country’s tax procedures are very difficult. If your business is suffering a loss, the bank does not give you a loan, if a private limited company shows a profit it has to pay 25% as tax. Salaries are taxed 1% TDS, and if the annual income is over Rs450,000, the tax bracket is higher. If the monthly transaction is above Rs1 million, there is 13% VAT, meaning we have to pay the government Rs130,000, if not you have to pay 25% interest. Once a year, we have to pay a triple tax for renewal at the Company Registrar, Cottage Industry and Municipality. On top of that there is the annual audit fee. How can a firm in a village afford all these fees and burden?
I made ghee under the ‘Nature’ brand for Nepal Gramodhyog Company which belongs to Dr Upendra Mahato and Dr Samata Prasad, the billionaire duo, because of their businesses in Russia. They paid me well in the beginning, even gave me an advance. But over time, that stopped, they duplicated my product and even returned some, stating that they had expired. If you can’t sell a product for nine months and have to cheat a middle-class supplier, why did you even come back to Nepal?
Mr Min Bahadur Gurung of Bhatbhateni, you want a 30% margin on products you sell? Small and big manufacturers are supposed to send their goods to your department store on credit? And you don’t even pay them back in three months, even though you have contracted to do so within a month? They kept me hanging too, they sent a cheque to Biratnagar under a wrong name. I had to go all the way from Ilam to pick it up, only to come to Kathmandu to correct it. It took a week. In that time, my profits had turned into losses. So I stopped selling my goods to Bhatbhateni. You are just looters, you know how hard it is to produce these items.
Big Mart had 32 branches in Kathmandu when I was supplying products to them. We agreed on payment terms as per the sale. They used to order goods worth Rs5-700,000 a month but I was paid just Rs75,000. If there was no billing for a month, you didn't pay me at all. I couldn't take it anymore and stopped selling you my items. You told me to go to all the branches to pick up my goods but everything I collected was worth just half the money you owed me. Why didn’t you pay me as agreed? Turns out you had already sold the products.
Golyan Agro of Pawan Golyan canceled the order of 110 cartons of ghee because there was no market demand. Why did you ask me to manufacture the goods without conducting a feasibility study of the market? Aren't you ashamed? You also said that your seniors refused to take the goods. If there was an error in your chain of command, why did you ask us to make the products and bring it to Kathmandu? Have you wondered how much I lost bringing goods from Ilam to Kathmandu and taking them back again?
Anil Basnet’s metrotarkari.com and NEP EXPRESS UAE took gundruk and tama from me, they sold it in Dubai. I was so proud to have my products exported. I also promoted it via Google, Facebook and even told my friends in Dubai, who bought some from you. But you know what? I still haven't received payment for the items I sold you.
Dabur Nepal, you have also opened a company to rob people. I supplied ghee to your factory in Bara and your procurement staff Shankar Pant openly asked for a commission. They gave me LPO on immediate cash on delivery but after three months, I only got partial payment. I still haven’t received the remaining amount. It must be so that they could get a commission.
Is the government not going to regulate dairy businesses in Ilam? They increase the price of butter by Rs150 per kg every two months. I could not even deliver to the places where I had taken small orders from. But I have paid all the dairies because farmers are directly associated with them, I chose to pay them back even if I was bearing a loss. But I have one request, follow legal standards, maintain hygiene, you are making food.
I stayed in my village, ran a factory and sold goods to big businesses in Kathmandu and Province 1. I made dealers of big companies my dealer. What more could I do? And even then I couldn’t earn money in this country. The main culprit here is the market that runs on credit, and the tendency of big retailers to look down upon small businesses.
I think my life is telling me not to live anymore, and die. They say that karma makes one’s destiny, but if it is not written in it the stars, no matter how much effort you put in, you will not get results. Family, home, society, relatives, they all blame me. When I ask them to support me, they push me further down.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, I leased a hotel in Ilam’s Kanyam called Kanyam Inn. It did well and I earned some money. But its owner, Jhapa's Tika Odari ordered me to vacate on the pretext that the hotel had been sold before the contract period.
Nepal’s insurance companies are big cheats, too. No entrepreneur is safe from them. Rudra Niraula, Bikash Shrestha, Ram Prasad Ghimire and Prakash Paudel of Sun Nepal Life Insurance Company in Birtamod kept bugging me even when I told them I have no money. They invested in it themselves to get me insured for Rs10 million, but have already made me pay Rs4-500,000 in instalments. They have done the same with my wife, they have taken Rs100,000 from her.
How long can I tolerate phone calls, messages, threats day in and day out? Creditors, banks, tax offices, raw material suppliers, relatives, clients and employees all call for money. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a call from those who want to give, for a change? And even after all this, I have still managed to pay all the banks, farmers and the poor.
I have paid the bank's monthly instalments and interest so far, except for future payments. On the business front, I need to return Rs800,000 to three parties in Chitwan. I haven’t been able to pay other personal loans, interest and VAT. The bank might collect its dues by auctioning the land, but how do I return money to the rest? There is no way out.
Anil Bhetwal from Dhulabari of Jhapa gave me a non-passable junk car and harassed me so much. When I told him I will give him Rs450,000 first and Rs100,000 later after the car passed the vehicle test, he threatened to bounce my cheque and get me arrested. So I paid him at once. When I asked him about the vehicle test, he told me I am supposed to pay the vehicle tax even from the time he used it. So go ahead, have me arrested.
I couldn’t do anything in this country. I toiled day and night but to no avail.
In the meantime, I went to Chandra Prasad Dhakal of Global IME, Bhawani Rana of Udyog Banijya, Golchha Organisation among others, and told them of my problems. But they did not want to listen. I even asked help from many other high profile industrialists and entrepreneurs, but to no avail. I was affiliated with the Bibeksheel Sajha Party for 5-6 years, as district coordinator for Ilam, with the pledge to advocate for these problems through politics. But come elections, the party collapsed.
The Rastriya Swatantra Party offered me a ticket to contest the election from Ilam-1, but I had no alternative, no money. And my wife and my family advised me against it. Because of many failures from my past, I did not make much of an effort, either. The system of this country is corrupt, there is corruption everywhere, policy dysfunction, there is no incentive to do anything, everyone is frustrated.
I could not help myself anymore, after all the adversities, economic hardships. So, right before Tihar of this year, I wanted to drown myself in the Brahmaputra River in Gauhati of India. I wrote a note, but could not do it. Someone saved me and I ran through Teju in Arunanchal to Kohu, the last Indian village near the Chinese border. I tried to enter China, but a snow-covered hill blocked the way, and with that my plan to work in China for a few years, struggle, make some money and return home, also fell through.
When I came back, my family, relatives advised me to move to Kathmandu and try to go abroad again for work. I tried everywhere: Saudi, Dubai, Qatar, Maldives, but nothing worked. Nepal’s manpowers are all thieves and looters. I gave interviews as required, passed them, but they do not give you a visa to destinations where you can make good earnings. They give those to their own relatives or those of influential peoples. They invent fees and collect money, saying “for paramedic”, “for QR code”, even seizing our passport. I had been selected for the position of a driver at a ministry in Qatar. The monthly salary was 10,000 Qatari Riyal. But the manpower agency asked for Rs800,000 in expenses. Where could I bring that kind of money from? In other cases, when I had been selected for jobs, the very manpower agents would put off giving me a visa for months …
After taking some time off, I began working at a vehicle rental company in Kathmandu. It was enough for me to get by, but what about my family, my children? How to pay off the Rs6 million that I owed? My wife is tortured all the time. Depressed, she would write to me saying she would kill herself too. In this almost silent competition between me and my wife, I have decided to give up. Please do not try to save me. If I am saved, I will die again. If the police catches me, I will kill myself in prison. I am revolting, so that this country may help someone else like me who wants to do something, may create a conducive environment.
I tried everything to live, but now even hope has failed me. I am sorry.
If anyone has a kind heart, please help my wife pay my debts. Or else, she might follow me, and our two daughters will be left alone.
SAVING AC 2907010001814
GLOBAL IME BANK, NEW BANESWOR BRANCH
My Nanuka, please do not fret, you will get help. Please forgive me, I tried everything I could do to make things better. The care of our daughters is now on your shoulders. When they are older, please make them understand that their father could not achieve success in this country despite everything, was met with adversity at every corner, was robbed and exploited everywhere. Those who cheat others fare better in this country than those who toil hard. Please make them see that he has sacrificed himself so they may not have to go through the same things, so that the government may listen to our suffering and pain.
I was once a very optimistic, positive-thinking and ambitious person … I worked hard, went through all kinds of struggles to achieve my dream. I was very good in sales and marketing. I had the training and experience in leadership and motivational skills, I had a talent for business … I had also learnt English, computer skills, modern business techniques, legal formalities, and was a skilled driver too.
I used to listen to motivational speakers like Dr Vivek Bindra, Shiv Khera, Binod Chaudhari, Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bachchan, Osho, Swami Vibekananda, the Chanakya Niti, Gita, Vedas for inspiration. Even then, I could not succeed in this country, could not run a successful venture, earn money, or achieve my dreams. I would encourage many youngsters in Nepal to not go abroad, to stay and do something here. I even ran ‘return to village’ campaigns. But in the end, I understood from my own professional frustrations why so many young Nepalis leave this country to work abroad. They are running away from Nepal’s corrupt policies, from an economy run by brokers, from the monopoly market, nepotism, favouritism. I spent everything coming here, fighting till I could not get up. I want to take back what I said to the many people asking them not to leave Nepal. Forgive me. Nothing can be done in this corrupt country. There is injustice and discrimination at every step.
Speaking of dreams, Sahuji Yuvraj of Patanjali Nepal in Ilam once said to me: “You work in ghee too, let’s work together, open a Patanjali ghee factory in Ilam.” I was encouraged, excited, imagined successes – but that’s all it ever was: an imagination. Please do not make false promises to a progressive youth. This drains their willpower. Even Sahaj Nepal organised by the Swiss Embassy invited me to interaction programs and made only assurances. You did cover my travel expenses, sure, but looted me even more. So many organisations came to examine my factory, praised it, asked about its conditions, said you would send help, but then never came back.
You took whatever data you needed for your jobs, continued to make promises, even helped out with unnecessary expenses for government subsidy forms, documents here and there, hassle and transport. But when it came to doing something actually helpful, you did nothing. You gave money to only those who bribed you, people’s representatives, parliamentarians, ministers and so on. Even I joined politics thinking it was the only way to salve this country’s pains and wounds.
But Rabindra Mishra, Suryaraj Acharya, Mumaram Khanal, Keshab Dahal, Milan Pandey, Mahendra Thapa, Bhim Prasad Adhikari, Nidhara Silwal, Samiksha Banskota, Prakash Chandra Pariyar, my soul will not leave you. How could you play with the feelings of so many aspiring youths of this country? If you could not stay united, run a party, why did you bring so many of us into politics? Why did you waste our time and money? I guess this country is fertile ground for those who want to spread false assurances, make promises, and turn that into a business to benefit themselves.
My family, relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours, please forgive me. Even my right to my home and ancestral property has been stolen. And you did not listen when I asked for your help. Legally, I am not entitled to my ancestral property because when I was in 7th grade my father, to avoid a land ceiling, gave me a small portion of his large land after separating the family.
According to Nepali law, one cannot claim one’s ancestral property twice. I was cheated by law too. I reached out to my relatives and family many times because I wanted to live. I begged you to help me out, but you did not lift a finger. Had I not fulfilled my social responsibilities? Had I not attended every wedding, karje, bratabandha, sanchep, prayers and rituals? Had I not made donations when I could? Had I not helped out in village programs, financial cost sharing? When women were being abused in our community, did I not help bring justice to them? Did I not contribute to community development projects, social and legal discussion?
Tell me. Was I not a responsible son, grandson, husband and father, devoted to his family and community? I did everything, and yet never found justice in the end. When did you ever see me drunk and out of my senses, when did I ever misbehave? Is it a crime in this country to start a business, to try to do something exemplary, to want to return to one’s own roots and fulfil social responsibilities? I will no longer plead to you now, for I am leaving. Forgive me.
My ancestral property is still there. My brother has plenty of land, as do my mother, grandfather and sister. I begged you when I was finished, when my ventures failed, to help me pay my debts. I implored to you that one can earn tomorrow, nothing is lost, but you did not listen to me. Mother, grandmother, my brother and sister-in-law, just consider this once: look at the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sri Lanka. Money, property, wealth are not the future, it’s our lives. If one lives, one can make that money again and again. But when life ends, when there is a political upheaval, some epidemic or natural disaster, then all is lost in the blink of an eye. Everything becomes worthless.
You loved that property more than my life. My other relatives too said I was not the future, the land was. My sister, my nieces, do you remember how much I helped you after the divorce? I tried very hard to live, I begged my family – but no one cared. My darling Nanuka, do not worry at all. Our family did not care for our tears, but there is certainly someone in this world who will support you and help you out of this distress.
My relatives, my own mother and brother stopped listening to me. My friends became distant. There is no place for me to rest my sorrows. How much longer can I carry this burden? Rs2 million would have sufficed for now, but all efforts to raise that money failed. There is no investment to do new work, nor is there a way to support the failing old business. I don’t have the money to pay back the loan and interest to Siddhartha Bank, or to pay the monthly instalments to Machapuchhre Bank.
I cannot raise the money required to pay VAT to the government, as it is tied up in the market. The Inland Revenue Office keeps nagging, says it will freeze all my personal and institutional accounts and will add me to the blacklist. But as the origin VAT is to be paid by the manufacturing company, there is no VAT return. I request the revenue office to not make business dues personal. I always paid my taxes, I am unable to now only because the business is at loss. Even the raw material dealers give their products in PAN. I have no resources to run my household, to spend on my daughters’ upbringing and education. I have no money to pay my debts and interests, or as returns in business transactions. My fault was just that I wanted to do something in my country. I was looted up until the end of my life when I bought a ticket last week for a night bus from Dang to Kathmandu, only to realise a little later that my seat had been sold to two other people. There are cheats everywhere, who will listen to me? Government, will you listen, please.
I could not stay alive although I wished to. I was unable to make something innovative and exemplary out of my life even though I wanted to. After I wrote this statement, I shared it with a few people in an attempt to save myself. I was assured I would get help, but such assurances turned out to be empty platitudes. With whom I shared this statement, I choose not to say— they can disclose it themselves should they wish to. I made this decision when I ran out of options. I shed many solitary tears. I wept until there were no more tears, no more hopes, no more relationships. More importantly, there was no more money, no wealth. Now, because I am poor, perhaps there will be no one to mourn me either— no one to shoulder my body after I die. I wanted to spend time with my daughters and help them grow into good citizens, I wanted to hold on to my wife for a long time. But everything I wanted to do has been reduced to wishes. Where do I go? With whom do I share all of this? I see no other option before me but death. Please, forgive me.
My brother-in-law is a contractor, and constructs electrical substations and transmission lines. He says that he can get contracts, but has to pay for construction with his own money. Are the people supposed to do the government’s work on credit? Why won’t you pay us on time? The government won’t listen. Listen, government — take a look at my burning body, so you know.
In my country banks make billions a year by playing with the money of the poor, where people are forced to pay for expensive drugs after free medicine from the government is destroyed, where public schoolteachers send their children to private schools because they do not trust the very institutions they work in, where the government does not have access to the basic things which people need to live, where there is a kleptocracy of businessmen and middlemen, where the rich are free and the poor bound by law. My country is hurting. There are tears in every village, every farmer’s house. Every young person with an ambition is heartbroken. Every poor person’s heart hurts. Every sick person is in pain. My country is dying. Government, do something. Anything.
Prachanda, you fought a war that killed 17,000 Nepalis. You made the country a federal, secular republic. You promulgated a new Constitution through Parliament. But you turned this country into one where young people like me are unable to do anything for the country. If Europe, America, Canada, Australia, and Japan issued visas to Nepalis more easily, no one would stay here. Your country would be deserted. Then you would be the Prime Minister of a country empty of people, and rule over only those 17,000 martyrs.
Businessmen are currently paying 12-15% interest on loans that they took out for 8-9%, taking out personal loans worth 24-36% interest to pay back the business loans. But the banks do not care. Moreover, landlords rake in deposits worth millions from those who want to acquire a shutter and start a small business. But they do not pay rent tax. If things keep going the way they are, our country will be left destitute. Someone needs to raise a voice. How can I be unaffected when the country is going through all this? All of these problems are due to the credit market, unscientific tax policies, capital flight, a lack of foreign investment, freeze on estate, capital, and shares, and much more. Do something, government.
I am consigning my body to flames with the following demands to the Nepal government, and an appeal that these demands be fulfilled. May this nation be one worth living in, one that is kind to those who work hard. I hope my appeal reaches everyone. This is my revolution. I challenge you to prove that all the problems I have mentioned above do not exist. These are not just what I have gone through, it is everyone experience. So, why is nobody else saying anything? I am only ending my own life, and will not bring harm to anyone else. I am making this appeal in a way that ensures that the government will listen.
May my country become one that people can be proud of, and one to which the millions of young people who have gone overseas can come back and make something out of themselves. Goodbye!
1. Zero VAT on domestic products. Charge 20% VAT on imported goods instead. VAT is the main cause of the price increase in consumer goods.
2. Implement market policies like ‘Buyers Pay First’, and put an end to the credit market. Suppliers are having to prop up commercial mafia like Bhatbhateni, Big Mart and Dabur Nepal who buy products on credit, then go on to sell those products and use the money on shares, real estate and to open fixed deposit accounts, through which they collect interest and enjoy profits. Only then will suppliers get the money they are owed. But by that time, suppliers will already have fallen victim to loans, interest, and operating capital shortages. The rich get richer, the poor poorer.
3. Implement tax policies like ‘Higher the Profit - Lower the Tax Rate’. Since increased profits will mean decreased tax rates, businesses will earn more profit.
4. Enable a system of land leasing. Nepalis have become complacent due to the practice of land inheritance. Make laws so an individual can own land for up to 50 years only.
5. Bring reforms to Bank Mortgage Valuation. Let the productive land in our village have the same valuation as the unproductive land in our cities. A land collateral of around 1,400 square feet won’t bring in any money unless the land is sold. But productive land in our villages will provide income, while the crops continue to bring in money, meaning that people are more likely to repay loans.
6. Bring all rentable properties under the tax ambit. People with monthly salaries of Rs10,000 have to pay 1% TDS, yet is it fair that those who collect millions in rent monthly pay no tax at all? Even if homeowners do pay tax, it comes out of the tenants’ pockets. A lot of your revenue has been lost to rental properties.
7. Big business and industries like Bhatbhateni, Big Mart, Patanjali, Dabur Nepal, and Unilever have been holding Nepal’s markets hostage — they need to be regulated. The market moves at their whim. Multinational companies display their products in Bhatbhateni at high margins even though they might incur losses, all to raise their company profile. Meanwhile, those companies sell the same goods at lower margins in the foreign market to make up for losses. This is how prices of daily consumer goods are skyrocketing.
8. Shut down all online businesses that operate without registration. Such businesses must be legally registered and should have paid necessary taxes.
9. Scrap labour permits for those who want to seek foreign employment through official visas. Well-paying companies in Gulf countries do not require demand or embassy attestation for such type of visas, and many skilled and educated youth are being deprived of employment in the Gulf. Labour permits are just a formality required at Nepal’s airport, and a way to keep brokers well-fed with fees and kickbacks.
10. Make public all your old files relating to grants and subsidies, and we will learn about the degree of corruption. Incentives and subsidies should be provided to all those who need it, and not to companies that only exist on paper.
11. Eliminate middlemen. The government should develop national online server called Palika Bazar to connect Nepal’s local units. Prices of agricultural and industrial products in all local units must be broken down on the national database. The government must facilitate demand and supply between all municipalities this way.
12. Nepalis export cardamom to India and buy imported cardamom powder, sell ginger to India and import ginger paste, export orthodox teas from Ilam in Calcutta and drink imported Lipton tea. Nepali brands must be made available in the Nepali market. Let the international market recognise our products.
13. Legalise marijuana farming. Marijuana and products made from its plants are in high demand in international markets. The country will prosper within two to four years.
14. Discourage privatisation of education, health, and the public transport sectors, which are basic services that the state must provide to the people. The government must make access to these services easy and wide-reaching to all. People die in this country because they have no money for treatment.
15. Provide housing facilities to government employees. A government salary of Rs45,000 is not enough to cover housing, education, healthcare and more. So what will government workers do if not resort to corruption?
16. Bring comprehensive reforms to the Public Procurement Act. Development contracts should not go to those who bid the lowest, but to those who present modern, scientific, self-budgeted proposals.
17. Parliament must implement capital punishment for corruption, heinous murders and rapes.
18. End caste-based reservation and provide such quotas to farmers and poor people through an identity card-system.
19. Close the open border with India. At the least, issue visa-on-arrival for a set time to Indian citizens from all border checkpoints.
20. Encourage domestic production and exports to replace imports. Facilitate production-oriented programs. The government must provide every kind of encouragement to the manufacturing industry.
21. Shut down micro-finance institutions. 60% of Nepal’s money is circulated through savings and loan cooperatives, while 40% is circulated through private and government banks. Apply the concept of micro-financing to agricultural and industrial co-operatives.
22. Development expenses are facilitated by the taxes we pay. Yet 25% cash is being collected from consumers in the name of development partnership in places where infrastructure is being developed. Put a stop to that.
23. Introduce ‘Entrepreneurship’ as a mandatory course in schools form Grade 6 onwards. Such skills are necessary to earn a living.
24. Immediately put into effect a rule that children of government employees and elected officials at all levels must be educated in public schools and colleges.
25. Ensure that interest rates on bank loans never increase above 7%. Much of the nation’s money is in the hands of big businessmen, and it is those very businessmen who have investments in Nepal’s leading banks. They are responsible for increasing interest rates so they can profit of off their fixed deposits.
Our nation has been through a lot of change. We have had many revolutions, fought a war, had people's movements, and killed our own citizens. Now, please change the circumstances of the people. Govern by focusing on state management and on issues that affect people’s daily lives. May an ordinary person be able to do business, get a job, farm, be happy. A country cannot be built on empty words, but by paying attention to details that can have a big impact on lives.
If anyone agrees with my demands, please show solidarity peacefully. My country has endured enough agitation and violence. Keep reminding the government. I have taken on this campaign imagining a beautiful country. Do not let my dream die. Those who got me involved in politics, please take my campaign forward, keep questioning the government. Soothe the wounds of this hurting nation.
To the new leaders who have sought power in an attempt to run the country: Rabi Lamichhane, Rajendra Lingden, Gyanendra Shahi, Sobita Gautam, Gagan Thapa, Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Yogesh Bhattarai, Toshima Karki, and all the new faces — do not just compete to be in government or get ministries, but address the underlying problems that affect the people.
An ordinary citizen of this nation
Prem Prasad Acharya (Santosh)
Suryodaya Municipality-11, Kerabari, Ilam, Province 1, Nepal. Currently in Kathmandu.
May my country live, even as I die.
Do not shy away from seeking help. If you, or anyone you know, would like to speak to a trained mental health professional, please contact:
TUTH Suicide Hotline: 9840021600
Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation-Nepal Crisis Hotline: 1660 0102005
Mental Health Helpline Nepal: 1660 0133666
Centre for Mental Health and Counselling Nepal Toll-free: 16600185080, Hotline: 1145
Koshish Toll-free helpline: 166001-22322 (Bagmati Province)
Patan Hospital Helpline: 9813476123
National Suicide Prevention helpline operated by Mental Hospital Lagankhel and TPO: 1166