March 15: The private sector of Nepal has started discussing ways to mitigate the threats of coronavirus on Nepal’s economy as the deadly virus has started taking toll on economic activities across the globe. Stakeholders have realized the need to discuss about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on Nepal’s economy and the relief packages.
The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) is organizing a meeting on Sunday (March 15) to discuss the issues while the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) is holding a meeting on Wednesday to talk about the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism industry of Nepal, which has been affected the most due to the lack of tourists amid coronavirus pandemic.
Senior Vice President of FNCCI Shekhar Golchha said that they will be discussing the long-term effects of coronavirus on Nepal’s economy.
“The meeting will dwell on what might be the possible long-term effects of coronavirus and what kind of packages would be appropriate to handle the situation,” said Golchha.
The standing committee meeting of FNCCI held last Friday has already taken a decision to request the government to extend the date of loan repayment by businessmen to BFIs and the government by three months.
FNCCI also decided to seek government’s help for package relief to bail out the tourism industry from further trouble. According to the FNCCI, other countries have already started providing relief packages to the tourism industry and Nepal should also follow suit.
President of HAN Shreejana Rana said that they will officially seek support from the government for protection of their business after Wednesday’s meeting. She pointed out to the need to reduce electricity tariff and interest rates charged by the banks at a time when the whole industry is reeling under crisis.
Chairman of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Satish Kumar Moore also says that the government should announce relief packages as the entire economy has started bearing the brunt of coronavirus outbreak.
He said that the deadly disease has severely affected all the businesses except food processing industries and machinery industries.
“We are not in a situation to recover our money from the market,” said Moore.
“The production has gone down due to low demand and there is also the lack of raw materials,” he added.
According to the hotel entrepreneurs, their condition has returned to that of 2003-4 when the country was at the peak of Maoist insurgency.
Chairman of Ace Hotel and Resort Yogendra Shakya said that the hotel industry was on the brink of closure one and a half decades ago and we are facing similar situation again. The government must announce relief package to save this sector, according to Shakya.