We are helping businesses in Nepal to raise awareness of the security challenges they face.
Weak implementation of law and order is one of the biggest challenges to economic growth and recovery in Nepal. We are working with the National Business Initiative (NBI) and district-level chambers of commerce and chapters of small and cottage industry to bring attention to this issue and demand change.
Forced donations, unsuitable interference and frequent strikes and labour unrest by interest groups and political parties, are a big concern for businesses in Nepal. And with national elections slated for November, there is a concern that political parties and their associated organisations will use donation rackets to raise money for their campaigns.
Over the last 18 months we have been working with business people to help them advocate for change. This includes providing training on how to develop an advocacy strategy and build relationships with relevant stakeholders, including government security providers at the local and national level, and helping them mobilise support within the private sector. Participants have organised one-to-one meetings with decision-makers, held workshops at the district, cluster and national levels, prepared press releases and taken part in interviews on TV and radio and in newspapers.
In June a delegation of prominent private sector representatives led by NBI met with the chairman of the Council of Ministers to demand the prohibition of forced donations and intimidation of the public and businesses by political interest groups and others, and advocated for a more transparent donation system. Later that month the delegation met with the chief of the Election Commission with the same demands, including the establishment of a ceiling and payment procedures for all donations (read more about this meeting here). Notably, in July, most likely for the first time ever in Nepal, six cadres of political parties were arrested by police due to their involvement in forced donations from business people.
This project has helped participants to recognise that security for the private sector is impossible without security for the general public. After all, forced donations don’t just terrorise the business sector, but other institutions and the public too. For more information on what local people think about the security and justice in Nepal, read our research report here.
This project is part of our security and justice programme in Nepal.
Photo: NBI President Padma Jyoti and Secretary of Home Affairs Nabin K.Ghimire speaking at a national conference organised by International Alert and NBI on 18th January 2013. The conference informed national policy-makers about the security concerns of the private sector and district-level initiatives led by the private sector taken to improve public security.