FinMin calls for collective reform to ensure full-fledged operation of Udayapur cement factory

Published On: December 20, 2023 09:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 20: Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has said Udayapur Cement Factory is important for the whole country. 

All should join hands to address the problems the factory is facing, he said while inspecting the factory and the quarries it has been using. 

According to the Minister's secretariat, in the course of the inspection, Finance Minister Mahat said it is possible to re-operate the factory only through collective efforts of all. He added that only the government giving grants to the factory is not the solution to the problem.

"Attention should be given to the management and the workers employed here too should feel a sense of responsibility. This situation has arisen as nobody has realized their responsibility. One should change, learning from the past," he said. 

Stating that many industries are run by the private sector, the Finance Minister said it is necessary to address the grievances of the workers. "The private sector itself buys the land, develops the industrial structures, purchases machines taking loans and operates the industries. It makes profits even after all the operating cost," he further added.

The Government of Japan has assisted in operating the Udayapur Cement Factory. The factory was set up at an investment of Rs 440 million. Even now, the factory does not need to pay the principal and interest of one billion rupees. Only bearing the operating cost is required, but the Factory has not been able to meet this. 

According to Minister Dr Mahat, the factory's current liability is Rs 750 million. "There is also weakness in the government's appointing the manager. We overlooked professionalism. The management leadership was also weak. Workers did not fulfill their responsibilities well while stressing only asking for perks and benefits. The cumulative effect of all this is the present situation of the factory," he said.

The minister said the problem has been accumulating even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A lack of thinking is there that its assets should be protected attaching due importance and so success could not be achieved. The government's participation is not necessary in the industry, but the government invested to make the factory competitive with the private sector and friendly countries also provided support in this. It is necessary to give continuity to this."

As the Finance Minister said, it would be difficult to save the factory if there is no commitment from the management and the trade unions. He mentioned that it is necessary to use new technology in tune with the time for saving the factory, and the government was ready to extend the support if works are carried out with the mentality of salvaging the factory. 

"The factory should sustain amidst competition. It cannot be forcibly saved only by investing the taxpayers’ money raised in other sectors. The management, workers, the proprietors and local government should express collective resolve to save it. Only then shall the government see what it can do," Finance Minister Mahat said, emphasizing on professionalism in work.

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