Participants of a roundtable organized by Nepal Republic Media in Biratnagar on Sunday. Photo: Chuman Basnet/Republica
BIRATNAGAR, Feb 12: Industrialists and business people of Province 1 have said that government policies and the prevailing laws are not industry-friendly.
Speaking at a roundtable organized by the Nepal Republic Media in Biratnagar on Sunday, they also expressed frustrations at the government for not addressing numerous challenges and problems that they have been facing while doing business. They, however, said that formation of provincial governments under the federal set up will make friendly laws and embrace investment-friendly policies.
Stating that their immediate concern was the high-interest rate on bank loans, they demanded the central government to address their concern without further delay.
Industry, agriculture, hydropower, tourism, education and health are the potentials sectors of the economy of Province 1, according to participants of the roundtable.
The participants also lambasted the government for not taking industries and enterprises seriously.
President of Morang Trade Association, Pawan Kumar Sarada, blamed the government for not having a clear policy for industry and business sector. “Bank rates are rising and banks are facing a shortage of lendable fund to issue credit. But the government is not doing anything to resolve this issue,” added Sarada. Lack of capital and power cuts are the major problems that have troubled industries and business in Province 1, he added.
Sarada also urged the government to create an environment conducive for business. “Opening of industrial estates along will not be sufficient. The government needs to facilitate the private sector,” he added.
He also said that the government can irrigate vast arable land in the province by building high dam on Koshi River.
Similarly, Rajendra Raut, Vice Chairman for Province 1 of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that eastern Nepal is rich in natural resources and has great potential for expansion of industries and enterprises. “Priority should be given to establishing road linkage, connecting Biratnagar to Kimathanka trade point of Tibet. It can provide international trade linkage to eastern Nepal,” said Raut.
Stating that the road project of such a high importance is facing many obstacles, he urged the government to expedite road construction by remove such obstacles.
Raut also said that local businessmen fear that provincial governments will bring new taxes. “It will erode our competitiveness. Similarly, it will be difficult for us if there is no uniformity in tax rates among provinces,” he added.
He suggested to the government to reduce import of petroleum products by generating more hydropower and ensuring market for agriculture goods produced in the district to reduce trade deficit
Similarly, Senior Vice President of Morang Trade Association, Prakash Mundada stressed, the need to bring reforms in government policies. “Better laws and policies can help to make the country prosperous in just five years,” he added.
Abhinash Bohora, another industrialist of the province, stressed the need to make more investment infrastructure development.
Another industrialist Bhim Ghimire said that the mindset of bureaucrats and government people toward industrialists should change.
Youth industrialists Subhash Acharya and Santosh Chaudhary, and bankers Mani Arjyal and Shalikrm Bhandari, among others, said it was high time the government addressed problems faced by industrialists and entrepreneurs.