FinMin assures relief to virus-hit businesses

Kathmandu, April 16

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has urged the private sector not to look for profits and adopt ways to sustain their businesses amid the ongoing crisis.

In a meeting with the private sector today, including industrialists, traders and bankers, Khatiwada said that both the government and private sector should work together amid this pandemic to sustain businesses and the economy

“The government is obliged to address concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic with limited resources. The primary concern of the government today is to protect and revive sectors that are linked to capital formation,” said Khatiwada, adding that the government is bringing in policies and programmes based on limited available resources.

According to him, the government will address concerns and problems associated with all sectors linked to production and capital formation as soon as the risk of the coronavirus is minimised.

“However, we need to set the base of resources required to materialise our plans and policies and the government is currently working on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khatiwada also requested the private sector to expand their businesses and raise investment as soon as the situation starts becoming normal.

“With some additional efforts, we can drive agriculture, construction and production sectors to a new level as soon as the pandemic is brought under control,” he added.

With the lockdown being extended, which has compelled businesses to remain shut further, Minister Khatiwada also acknowledged that businesses require second phase of relief packages from the government and informed that the government is working on it.

“The first phase of relief package was basically intended to defer loan and interest rate repayment period. While we will try facilitating businesses further through other immediate reliefs in coming days, the government will adopt medium- and longterm measures to revive businesses and the economy through upcoming policies and programmes of the government and the budget for the next fiscal,” the finance minister added.

Acknowledging that loan and interest repayment and sustaining workers are the two major issues that the private sector is facing today, Khatiwada assured that these issues will be addressed soon. “We are currently working on managing resources for the second phase of relief packages,” he informed.

During the meeting, private sector representatives, including those from the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), said that the government should bring in incentive packages to boost the morale of businesses.

“The private sector today is eagerly awaiting relief packages from the government. As almost every sector has become a victim to the pandemic, we expect the government to bring in sector-specific relief packages,” said Satish Kumar More, president of CNI.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 17, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.