Capital investment urged

Kathmandu, June 5:

The business community today asked the government to formulate a dynamic and inclusive industrial policy that can attract capital investment worth a minimum of Rs 50 billion in the next five years.

They also stated that slow progress in Nepal’s industrialisation process is due to lack of adequate capital investment and high cost of doing business as well as a failure to update policies on time. The political and policy instability, increasing government intervention and rigid labour system as well as lack of economic incentives are some other reasons that are impeding the industrial development in the country.

Speaking at an interaction on ‘Formulating an Effective Industrial Policy’ jointly organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Enhancing Nepal’s Trade Related Capacity (ENTReC), they said the proposed industrial policy should bring a vision that the industrial sector would contribute 10 per cent to the gross domestic products (GDP) and consume 15 per cent of total labour force in the next five years.

Presenting a paper, Jagadish Agrawal, chief of revenue committee at CNI, said that the upcoming policy should not only correct past errors, but also set a new trend in the industrialisation process.

Some core areas for the industrial development should be identified and focused activities should be carried out accordingly, he said.

CNI also urged the government to identify at least five core sectors and promote industrial activities with a view of brining down the cost of production at least at par with SAARC level.

“The trend must be changed and focus should be given at those sectors where Nepal has competitive and comparative advantages. In the past, our focus was scattered and resources were wasted and the end result was negligible,” Agrawal said.

The process of industrialisation should now begin with a concrete vision and strong commitment to implementing them on time, said Binod Kumar Chaudhary, president of CNI. Correction must begin from a basic issue such as simplification of procedures to initiating bold policy steps for creating congenial investment climate, he said.

“Government officials must have become tired by listening to our piles of demands of formulating favourable policy and providing incentives. But neither the issues have been addressed nor have we stopped putting on demands,” he said.

Chaudhary said that government must tell if it cannot do anything to address the roblem. “We are asking it to take a concrete decision,” he added.

Responding to concerns raised by businessmen, Rajendra Mahato, minister for industry, commerce and supplies admitted that the government has failed to address the concerns of the private sector. He asked the private sector representatives to join hands with the government in formulating pro-business policies and programmes that can ultimately benefit them, as well as the country.