Call to boost nation’s micro trade sector

KATHMANDU: Micro enterprise development must be made a national campaign for poverty alleviation, opined experts at a sharing workshop with stakeholders on Thurdday on the document of National Programme of Micro-Enterprise Development (MEDEP).

“MEDEP, which focuses on the poor, particularly women, socially excluded, unemployed youths and Madhesis, has been effective in improving their livelihood,” said Minister for Industry Asta Laxmi Shakya adding that 31 per cent of the total population is still living below the poverty line.

Shakya emphasized on enhancing the skills of human resources in implementing partners’ institutions that include cottage and small industry (DCSI) which works in 27 districts, cottage and small industry development board (CSIDB) also working in 48 districts, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI) and National Micro Entrepreneurs’ Group Association (NMEGA) and appealed for expansion and implementation of MEDEP.

“ Despite joint efforts by the government and UNDP, till date micro enterprise development programme is limited to only 700 VDCs in 31 districts of the country,” said Shakya urging all the concerned organisations to expand the programme to all districts in Nepal with ownership of government and donor support until it is fully internalized.

According to Shakya, the forthcoming Micro Enterprise, Small and Cottage Industrial Policy 2065 and Industrial policy 2065 have given importance to the micro enterprise sector.

Talking about the estimated budget for the three-year interim plan, Dr RD Singh, member of National Planning Commission said, “The total budget is Rs 189 million for micro enterprise development programme that is to be expanded to all districts, Rs 35 million for micro, cottage and small industry credit development fund and Rs 40 million for micro, cottage and small industry development.

“The main objective of the government’s three-year interim plan is poverty alleviation by putting emphasis on social inclusion through micro, cottage and small industries. The quantitative targets of the plan are achieving 6.3 per cent average annual industrial growth rate, creating 150,000 additional jobs in the industry sector (50,000 in large industries and 100,000 in micro, cottage and small industries),” explained Dr Singh.

He said average per capita income of Nepalis is US$476. GDP growth rate is less than four per cent and every year about 300,000 workers enter the job market in Nepal. Around two million workers are employed abroad and around 200,000 to 250,000 workers go out of Nepal each year.