Entrepreneurs appeal for lasting peace

Kathmandu, September 4:

Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), an apex body of the business organisations, today has ‘strongly’ appealed for a long-lasting peace in the country.

“National economy has faced a serious threat from the recent crisis,” a press release issued by the FNCCI here stated. The release stated that “even other least developed countries (LDCs) are actively involved in developmental process to make their economies vibrant despite conflict. However, Nepal has been projected as a backward nation globally as it has only 2.1 per cent GDP growth rate against a 2.4 per cent population growth rate.” Conflict has, lately, hit the economic sector hard. “Political parties has put the economic issues on the back burner for long and the politics got undue importance,” the release stated, “Conflict slowly and gradually started taking its toll in the economic sector that is essential for a nation to survive.” The importance of the economic sector was undermined, the release stated, “If timely and strict measures are not taken, there is a possibility of a total collapse of the national economy.”

The most important issue is to provide security to safely operate the industries, entrepreneurs say. “Government talks about rescuing sick industries, increasing investment and creating more employment. However, it has failed to create a conducive environment for private sector to operate business smoothly,” stated a FNCCI release. Despite increased deteriorating law and order situation in the country, businessmen have not quit their profession. But they could hardly carry out their business, say entrepreneurs involved in various trades. Nepal cannot live in isolation from the global economy; therefore, we need to move ahead effectively in a changed competitive environment. There are tremendous potentials to drive the country making a transit point for India and China. Moreover, in the context of WTO and SAFTA being into force, Nepal has to make its products more competitive to survive the competition.

FNCCI has requested the Communist Party Of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M) to save the private sector as it is the largest employment provider in the country. “Why are we targeted, time and again, and what have we done wrong?” the FNCCI has asked. Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) has also welcomed the unilateral ceasefire by the CPN-M. “The announcement would be crucial in restoring consumer’s confidence, stated the statement by NATO. NATO is preparing to organise a special tourism promotion programme in USA and requests all the international operators to re-include Nepal in their travel brochures. It also urged to maintain a lasting peace in the country.

Similarly, Garment Association of Nepal (GAN) issuing a press statement has said that the ceasefire has encouraged the exporters. Nepal Trans Himalayan Border Trade Association (NTBTA) has also welcomed the ceasefire. In a separate press statement, the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) has also hailed the decision of unilateral ceasefire by the CPN-M. CNI has requested to help transforming this periodic ceasefire into a permanent one to rescue the ailing national economy. The concerned parties should be very serious and express commitment to get the private sector out of the present crisis. The continuous and damaging attacks in the recent times has left the private sector in the cold. “The contribution of the private sector in the national economy can not be underestimated, but the continuous attack has hit — not only the industrials but also the hundreds of thousands of working class people and their families — hard,” the FNCCI stated in the release, adding that the politics and economy should be separated. “If the industries are made scapegoats to fulfill the political goal, the country can no more sustain.”

Apart from this, the political economy of the People’s war — in their own terms — is slowly dragging the country towards a failed state. “How can Maoists fight the People’s War, by exploding bombs in the local industries?” asked an entrepreneur without wanting to be named “They claim to advocate for ‘national industries’ and vow to save them, but by closing local industries, whose interest are they serving? The daily wage workers — for whom they claim they are fighting for — are always at the receiving end. It has been the lower class that has always suffered. How can it be a Peoples’ War? It is beneficial for some vested groups only,” he said.