KATHMANDU, Nov 9: Private sector leaders have demanded immediate review and revision of over two dozen acts, rules and regulations, claiming that these decades-old laws have become barriers to country's industrial development.
Out of 26 laws related to business and industrial sector, Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) demanded that three of them are replaced with new laws at the earliest. Similarly, the umbrella organization of industrialists has also urged the government and political parties to amend 19 other laws that have stifled their businesses.
Speaking at a workshop on 'Laws Reform for Industry and Investment Promotion' organized by the CNI together with Nepal Media Society in Kathmandu on Wednesday, leaders of the private sector expressed dismay over the delay in reviewing and revising laws, rules and regulations that are not only outdated and old but also hindering industrial development of the country.
“Most of the laws that are in place neither gives protection to consumers nor do they encourage private sector,” CNI President Hari Bhakta Sharma said. “In the last 25 years, there has not been any thorough review in the economic and business-related laws for investment promotion while the country has witnessed a profound change in the political front,” he added, calling for amendment to laws that have stymied the private sector's development.
Sharma also said that 56 different laws that are related to the business and manufacturing sector should be consolidated and unified to bring the number down to five or six.
CNI has demanded the government to scrap laws that prevent outward investment, act related to black marketing and export-import control act, among others.
Also speaking at the event, Shankar Prasad Sharma, former vice chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC), said that timely review and revision of legal instruments is a must for economic development of the country. “If we do not review and amend laws that date back to 2017 to 2019 BS, we cannot achieve economic reforms like that of India and other neighbors,” said Sharma. “Some of the laws were amended in past two or three years. But the speed at which reform should have taken place is too slow,” he added.
He, however, said that the private sector also needs to play its role in controlling market distortions particularly the cartel in trucking and transportation.
Business leaders also warned that the delay in legal reforms could impact investment in the country. “Some of the laws are so obsolete and frustrating that they are likely to hit investment if they are not revised immediately,” Pashupati Murarka, the immediate past president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).
Pawan Kumar Ojha, a former Supreme Court justice, felt the need for an effective institution for undertaking periodic update and review of laws in the country. “As the amendment process is initiated by respective ministries, they largely focus on revising provisions which have hampered their works. Interest and benefits of the public and other stakeholders are largely ignored during the review and amendment of laws,” he added, urging the government to change its working pattern.