‘Service sector needs to be more competitive’

Kathmandu, August 19:

Concerned stakeholders and experts have pointed out the need for Nepal to consolidate its internal capacity before opening up its service sector to other member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) .

They were speaking at a seminar on ‘WTO membership: Impact on the Service Sector’ organised by Management Association of Nepal (MAN) with support from Nepal Window Second Trade Related Capacity Building Project here yesterday. On the occasion, experts also said that before opening up the service sector, comparatively profitable sides should be identified and consolidated. Expressing his view, vice-chairman of National Planning Commission, Dr Shanker Prasad Sharma expressed the commitment to open only some specified service sectors to the World Trade Organisation. He also referred to the present year’s budget in this regard.

Health and education sectors have been identified as profitable sectors from the geographical point of view of Nepal and so these sectors should be strengthened, he added. Sharma said with the aim of making Nepal a transit route between India and China, Nepal needs to further develop the capacity of its service sector. He added that Nepal cannot remain a poor and non-competing country in between two big economies of the world. Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), said in the present situation when the population growth rate is higher than the growth rate of gross domestic production, the social system should be made suitable for industry and business.

Programme director of the Capacity Building Programme and Joint Secretary, Prachanda Man Shrestha said domestic industries should be protected from the import point of view while comparatively profitable sectors should be identified from the export point of view.

Assistant resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sriram Pandey stressed on the need for stakeholders to be familiar with the regulations of the service sector in the context of WTO be it banking, insurance, audit and media sector. Project manager of the Capacity Building Project, Dr Posh Raj Pandey, president of Nepal Medical Association Dr Sudha Sharma, Narayan Bajaj of Nepal Chartered Accountants Association and other speakers also expressed their views on the theme of the seminar. President of MAN, Dr Arzu Rana Deuba presided over the programme.