March 16: The private sector has demanded an extensive relief package to cope with the financial crisis they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak across the world. Tourism industry and other businesses in Nepal have been largely affected by the deadly virus with the inflow of tourists declining significantly and foreign trade coming almost to a standstill, especially with China where the epidemic originated.
Representatives of three major business organizations of the country – the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) made such request to Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada during a meeting on Sunday (March 15).
Stating that the coronavirus outbreak will have long-term effects on Nepal’s economy, the delegation sought government support in availing concession in bank loans and tax rebate among others at this time of crisis.
In response, Finance Minister told the representatives of the private sector to submit written application mentioning clearly what kind of impact has the coronavirus made on which sector.
The entrepreneurs informed the government that the is no demand in the market and they are not in a position to recover their amount from the market at the moment. In order to facilitate them, representatives of the private sector requested for government help in extending the time frame for repayment of loan, renewal of loan, delaying provisioning of bad loan and also demanded waiver of income tax, according to Shekhar Golchha, senior vice president of FNCCI.
They argued that the industrial sector is in crisis due to coronavirus and urged the government not to interfere if they reach an understanding with the banks to extend the period of repaying loans.
The entrepreneurs said that the entire business of the country is facing a slowdown due to the deadly disease and urged the government not to collect income tax until the situation improves.
CNI President Satish Kumar Moore said that the finance minister has assured of taking necessary measures after studying the current situation.
“Although no decision was taken during today’s meeting, the finance minister is positive toward our demands,” said Moore.
During the meeting, the private sector drew the attention of the government toward the ailing tourism industry, which has already shown visible impacts of coronavirus with the non arrival of tourists. They demanded immediate relief package to bail out the tourism industry from the current crisis.
The stakeholders said that the hotel and aviation industry has been facing problem of fund crunch and are struggling to pay the staffers.
According to Joint Secretary Uttar Kumar Khatri, the finance minister reportedly said that the government is highly alert of the possible crisis and has adopted necessary measures to handle the current situation. He said that the finance minister urged the businessmen not to panic as the situation has not gone out of control.