April 9: The government has decided to bring a special package to address the impacts of coronavirus on the country’s economy. Preparations are underway to launch the package within two weeks, informed sources told New Business Age.
According to officials at the Finance Ministry, the stimulus package will be holistic in nature and address the entire aspects of Nepal’s economy. Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada is evaluating the size of economic relief, said an official at the Ministry.
“The economic impacts of Covid-19 lockdown will be evaluated. Provided the lockdown is extended, we will also analyze the anticipated losses,” said the official, adding, “We will prepare a rough estimate within a week.”
The government has formed a committee to study the economic impacts of coronavirus in Nepal under the leadership of Revenue Secretary Ram Sharan Pudasaini. The committee consists of officials of Nepal Rastra Bank as members. Similarly, a technical committee has been formed to evaluate the effects under the leadership of Pushpa Kandel, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission.
“The economic package will be prepared after consulting the reports of the committee,” said Moti Dugar, state minister for industry, commerce and supplies.
According to him, the ministry is planning to request the Finance Ministry to cover issues including interests to be paid by businessmen, extending the payment of loan till six months, subsidy in customs duty for the exportable items, subsidized loan to the industries highly affected by coronavirus among others.
“We have asked the private sector to submit proposal regarding their losses and support needed for recovery. We will try our best to address their concern,” said Dugar.
According to the President of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) Bhavani Rana, a committee under the leadership of Shekhar Golchha will prepare a report and submit it to the government. “The committee has already prepared the final draft. We will submit the report in two days,” said Rana.
She said that the proposal demands that that interest for tourism industry be reduced by reduced by 50 percent. According to FNCCI many people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and so the government must provide relief to the workers.
“Now, we can see the effects only on tourism and industry. However, this will affect the overall economy. So, the proposal consists of concerns of all the industries,” said Rana.
According to Dr Swarnim Wagle, former vice-chairman of the NPC, the government should bring an economic relief package of minimum Rs 150 billion. “The government should bring a relief package of Rs 100 billion in the initial stage. Later on, with further research, the government should add the relief,” said Wagle. According to him, the concerns of tourism sector, industries and labourers should be addressed first.
“The workers working in affected sectors should be provided with welfare fund, special facilities from social security fund and their tax payment duration should be extended by at least six months,” said Wagle.