June 5: The construction entrepreneurs have protested saying that the demand of the construction sector has not been addressed through the budget of the next fiscal year (FY 2023/24). The Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) has announced that if the government does not address the demand by the June 18, the construction work will be halted across the country and the businessmen will hand over their licenses to the state.
The federation gave this warning in a press conference in Kathmandu on Sunday. On the occasion, the president of the Federation, Ravi Singh, said that the budget did not address the important issues such as contract extension, payment, price adjustment etc.
He said that the contractors’ patience has run out because the government promises to fulfill its commitments, but does not to implement it in practice. He said that there is no option than to extend the deadline of all the projects by mid-June.
FCAN President Singh claimed that the contractors are not responsible for the delay in completing the projects because they failed to meet the deadline due to the state’s weak policies.
He accused the government of trying to destroy the country's construction industry.
"Contrary to the principle of natural justice, there has been a practice of imposing more than one punishment on construction workers. The issue of canceling the license of construction workers has been mentioned in the budget statement, which proves that the government has become an obstacle to the development and expansion of this industry," he said.
According to President Singh, the collapse of the construction industry has adversely affected the overall economy of the state. He argues that if the government releases the money of the construction entrepreneurs, the economy will become vibrant and its positive effect will be seen in the overall economy of the country.
Former FCAN President Jairam Lamichhane, who is also an advisor to the federation, expressed his concern that if the demands of the businessmen are not addressed, the country's construction industry will be blacklisted after the mid- June. "If the government genuinely wants to protect the country's construction industry, the state should take initiatives to ease the current situation," he said.
The General Secretary of the Federation, Roshan Dahal, said that the construction businessmen have not been paid more than Rs 70 billion and pointed out that the state is more to blame for the projects not being completed on time.
However, Dahal said that some points of the budget including increasing capital expenditure, appropriating the budget only after completing all the necessary procedures, making the head of the project responsible and accountable, updating the records of construction professionals through the Public Procurement Monitoring Office, tax exemptions are positive.
He added that the protest is not a desire but a compulsion of the businessmen. Also, it was said that there is a tendency of the state to announce random projects for political interests, but not to pay the money to the businessmen even after the completion of the project.