KATHMANDU, May 10: The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs' Association of Nepal (FWEAN) has urged the government to waive the interest of the capital women entrepreneurs have burrowed to start their businesses as they are forced to incur a huge loss due to the nationwide lockdown enforced by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In separate meetings with Minister for Commerce and Supplies, Lekh Raj Bhatta, and Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Parbat Gurung, FWEAN Chairperson Reeta Singh asked the government to introduce financial relief packages in order to help women entrepreneurs to minimize the adverse effects of the prolonged nationwide lockdown on their businesses. The body of women entrepreneurs across the country has said that a large number of businesses run by women entrepreneurs are likely to face closure if there is no support from the government.
Chairperson Singh has drawn the attention of Minister Bhatta and Minister Gurung in writing about the possible measures that the government needs to incorporate in the budget to bail the women entrepreneurs in the country out of this COVID-19 crisis. Both the ministers have assured that they will put forth these issues with Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada to incorporate them in the upcoming budget.
FWEAN has asked the government to help defer the payment of the installment of the loan and settlement of tax amount. It has demanded that the government help waive the interest of the loan taken by the women entrepreneurs during the lockdown period and delay the payment of interest and installments by six months after the lockdown is lifted.
Similarly, FWEAN has asked the government to make necessary arrangement to provide up to Rs 2.5 million additional loans to women entrepreneurs who have been already running their enterprises at a minimum two percent interest rate and make necessary arrangement to extend the loan from Rs 500,000 to Rs 2.5 million without any collateral on the basis of the businesses women entrepreneurs have been running.
During the meeting, Minister Bhatta said that he was aware of the problems faced by the women entrepreneurs in the country. Similarly, Minister Gurung said that although his ministry was planning to bring a number of programs aimed at the women entrepreneurs, the outbreak of COVID-19 had badly affected their plans.
Secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Yam Kumari Khatiwada appreciated the works being carried by women entrepreneurs in the country. She said that the government will do its best to address all the concerns raised by the women entrepreneurs.
FWEAN has urged the government to allocate the necessary budget to develop storage facilities as agriculture products produced by women entrepreneurs are going waste due to the lack of such facilities. It has also urged the government to make it mandatory to use local products produced by the women entrepreneurs to further promote women entrepreneurship and generate employment opportunities at home.