Finance minister claims Nepali economy is on ‘right track’

Kathmandu, August 29

Amid the criticism that the government has been facing from different quarters on issues related to taxations and failure to promote business environment, Minister of Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada today claimed that Nepal’s economy is on the right track and will continue to grow in the coming years.

Addressing the 19th annual general meeting of the Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal (SEJON) here today, Khatiwada mentioned that the government is in the process of implementing the fiscal budget and it might take a while for its impact to be more visible.

“The government has been subject to criticism for trying to maintain budgetary discipline in the country. I urge all stakeholders to give the government some time to show tangible results in the economy,” said Khatiwada.

Commenting on concerns related to tax administration in the federal system and other issues raised by the private sector, Khatiwada said, “It has been less than seven weeks that the fiscal budget has entered into implementation phase. As different laws and regulations have to be prepared to implement the budget in full-fledged manner and address concerns raised by the private sector, it will take some time.”

Meanwhile, Khatiwada urged the private sector to invest whole-heartedly and assured full government support. “The growth targets and development goals of the country are not possible without adequate investment from the private sector,” he added.

On the occasion, Bhawani Rana, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that ballooning trade deficit and country’s inability to generate adequate employment opportunities are the two main challenges facing the government at present. “The government should introduce plans and policies to boost country’s production base and increase export of goods,” informed Rana.

Similarly, Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), said the government should look into ways of generating the capital for investment to address the country’s infrastructure bottlenecks. Stating that the existing government policies are short-sighted, Sharma stressed on the need to make business-related policies and laws more contextual. He also urged the government to ensure transparent and effective use of revenue for country’s development.

Likewise, Rajendra Malla, senior vice-president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), informed that ‘irrational’ taxes being collected by the local governments have created havoc among businesses. “The government should ensure uniformity in tax collection by all local governments.”