ILAM, Sept 4: Industrialists and entrepreneurs of eastern Nepal have started studying different areas in Province 1 for investment.
The Province 1 Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) is studying economic status, production capacities, import, export and possible investment areas in the province. The committee plans to visit every district in the province for the study and provide needful suggestions to the government.
However, economic experts, say identification of possible investment areas is not enough. Professor of Economics at Mahendra Ratna Multiple Campus, Dilnath Phuyal, said that the main challenge in the province is the lack of collaboration between public and private sector. He added that the provincial government needs to work environment conducive for the private sector.
Though leaders of political parties say that the country is now on the verge of an economic revolution, economic indicators of the province are not showing any sign of improvement.
Import accounts for 85.38% of the total trade of the province, while share of exports stand at a dismal 14.62%.
Data compiled by Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) shows, trade deficit of the province stands at a whopping Rs 115 billion.
Professor of Economics at Tribhuvan University Arun Baral said that the province needs to bring about transformation in agricultural sector for export promotion. “The policies related to trade are not friendly. Though the government is positive toward businesses, there is complication in behavioral aspect,” said Baral.
According to Baral, the GDP of the province is estimated at around Rs 505 billion. Investment of Rs 342 billion, including Rs 10.2 from foreign parties, has been made in 714 factories of the province.
Data compiled by the Ministry of Finance shows there are 369 manufacturing industries, 114 agri and forest industries and 97 service industries in province 3. Similarly, there are 77 industries related to energy sector, 50 related to tourism and three related to construction, while two are mining industries.
Baral said that the province should promote cardamom farming and production in Taplejung and Panchthar districts, orthodox tea in Ilam, ginger in Tehrathum, fruits in Khotang, Chiraito in Okhaldhunga, and livestock farming in Udayapur. “Similarly, Morang should prioritize paddy and Neem, Dhankuta should promote vegetables, while Sankhuwasabha should focus on production of Rudraksha beads,” Baral said, adding Bhojpur, Jhapa and Sunsari should focus on production of orange, betel nuts and turmeric, respectively.
“These are only the key sectors. There are dozens of areas for investment in all the districts of the province,” Baral said.
Narendra Khadka, president of Province 1 Committee of FNCCI, said that the chamber was holding discussion with business experts and other stakeholders to identify areas for investment in different districts of the province. “The government should encourage the private sector by addressing the challenges that the latter faces in doing business,” he added.
Similarly, vice chairperson of FNCCI Province 1 Committee, said that the government should open information center and establish cold storage facilities, and fruits and vegetables processing centers to promote exports from the province.