Experts urge change of mindset for growth

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 1:

Experts and senior government bureaucrats today strongly voiced concerns over the mindset of the people which has been considered one of the biggest hurdles in smooth development of private sector for sustainable economic development.

The bureaucrats themselves criticised the paper prepared by Dinesh C Pyakuryal, industry secretary, saying that the paper on ‘Private Sector Development including Privatisation’ is not ‘focused’. Today is the second of the pre-consultation meet of Nepal Development Forum (NDF) organised by the ministry of finance.

Bhoj Raj Ghimire, secretary at the National Planning Commission (NPC) speaking on the occasion, said, “There is an urgent need to change the mindset of the people which is a major challenge to uplift private sector.” Ghimire opined that the government should take the private sector into ‘confidence’.

“Not only that, policies related to foreign direct investment, and barriers for entry and exit, have to be clearly spelt out with reformed approach to attract the private sector,” he suggested. Dr Bhola Nath Chalise, former industry secretary on the same occasion suggested the government to annul Industrial Enterprises Act which is not useful at the present context.

Transportation is very serious issue for the public, and cartelling is being seen these days another major problem, which needs to be broken to give a sigh of relief to the public, opined Chalise, adding that “Cartelling has been a difficult ‘proposition’ for the government to wipe out that as the ministers themselves are in the transportation business and want the same system to continue.”

Regarding Income Tax Act, he said, “The Act is too vague to understand. So amendment is an urgent need.”

Economist Dr Minendra Rijal opined that subsidies should be given to build capacity and

institutions which will help in the long run.

Rijal said that “it is the poor who suffers the most from poor public service delivery, so the strong private sector is the necessity to give relief to the poor at large.”

Presenting his paper, Dinesh C Pyakuryal, industry secretary said that the government has the strategy to ensure the policies in a sustained manner with the consultation of the private sector for vibrant economic development. He also urged the reorientation the role of the government as a facilitator. “The government is open to redefine its role and subsequently review policies to suit the private sector’s conducive environment to growth, he added..

Prabhakar Rana, speaking aggressively at the function, urged for the development of the private sector. “The concept of corporate governance is only ‘talked’ not practiced. I am disappointed with the way the development is going on in Nepal in the past 50 years,” he said.

Basu Giri, president of Federation of Nepalese Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), said, “The government policies have totally failed to boost small and medium enterprises. Not only that, banks also hesitate to give loans to small entrepreneurs.”

Giri asked for separate policy for small and cottage industries as their contribution to the national economy is very significant.

Dr Mangal Siddhi Manandar, former vice-chairman of the NPC chairing the session said that monopoly is not desirable for healthy competition and if we failed to establish conducive environment, it will directly hit the growth of the private sector.

Binod Bahadur Shrestha, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) on the occasion asked that is it a crime to ask the government for incentive package to rescue the troubled industries. “The private should facilitate the business sector seriously as it can only feed the huge population of the country,” Shrestha opined.

Prof Bishwambher Pyakuryal, president of Nepal Economic Association sought the ‘real productivity’ of the public enterprises wherein over Rs 180 billion has already been spent for their reform. “The government should seriously think about this,” he said.