May 3: Shekhar Golchha, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), has said that it won't be possible to keep the private sector, which contributes 70 per cent to the country's economy, in the dark.
Stating that the private sector can no longer be discouraged under any pretext, he complained that the government has taken a unilateral decision to increase energy tariff, interest rates and production costs.
The federation handed over suggestions to the government for the coming fiscal year’s budget during a formal programme attended by Finance Minister Janardan Sharma and Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini on Monday.
Golchha said that the projection of economic growth rate made by the Central Bureau of Statistics was not unnatural. He claimed that if the growing economic activities are maintained in the current fiscal year, the growth would reach up to 8 percent.
"There cannot be any excuse to discourage the private sector," Golchha said. "It is not possible to keep the private sector in the dark."
He added that the government has reduced 450 megawatts of electricity to the industrial sector which is against the government’s plan to increase energy consumption.
"Power cut in industries since the last 4/5 days is not acceptable to us," Golchha complained. "Why Nepal Electricity Authority has not been able to manage electricity when it has been urging everyone to increase its consumption?"
Stating that the banks’ interest rate has increased, Golchha said that the business community lost its confidence due to the ban on imports. The federation argued that the decision would reduce production and put the economy at greater risk.
"Our economy is not in trouble," Golchha said. However, "If the problems like energy and interest rates are not managed, the risk will prevail."
FNCCI Vice President Chandra Prasad Dhakal pointed out the need to hand over public institutions to the private sector. He also urged to give priority to the export of stone and ballast while conserving the Chure region.
Chairman of the Nepal Readymade Garments Association Chandi Prasad Aryal said that an export-oriented policy is needed. He said that the garment sector had incurred a loss of Rs 1.25 billion due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He also suggested to make arrangements for giving cash subsidy on the basis of manufactured goods.
Chairman of the Nepal Cement Producers' Association, Dhruva Thapa, said that the domestic cement industry was ready to export cement worth Rs 150 billion if the government facilitated in export. Similarly, officials of various unions expressed their views in the programme.