Nepal | January 16, 2021

Govt still lacks concrete plan for businesses to resume

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 24

Though the country has entered into the third month of the nationwide lockdown preventing all sorts of business activities from the beginning, the government still is without any concrete plan to resume economic activities and revive businesses which continue to remain shut and are struggling to sustain.

While the economy has been battered due to restricted mobility and closure of businesses for months and the lockdown is still prolonging, the government’s failure to come up with an effective modality to resume economic activities has worried the business community lately.

A recent report prepared by Nepal Rastra Bank showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only disrupted economic activities but already inflected a loss of almost Rs 168 billion in the country’s economy.

Experts say the loss that the Nepali economy will face out of this pandemic is still unpredictable and might even be unbearable for a developing nation like Nepal as the government is continuously extending the lockdown while it has not come up with any plans to resume economic activities.

If economic activities are not resumed cautiously and a favourable environment is not ensured for business to resume, not only will businesses collapse but also the economy will fall to a level from which revival will be impossible for many years, as per industrialist Pashupati Murarka.

Though the government had recently allowed 43 different types of industries, especially those related to essential service production and trading to operate, tightened mobility due to the rise in the number of COVID-19 infected people has halted operation of these industries. Moreover, unavailability of industrial workers, transportation service, raw materials and market has made operation of these industries almost ‘impossible’.

“Merely allowing industries to open is not enough amid a lack of raw materials and workers due to halted mobility of people and transportation services. The government should also facilitate industries in receiving necessary raw materials from domestic sources and abroad and also mobility of people and transportation services for
industries,” said Murarka, who is also the immediate past president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

In a bid to prevent their economy to collapse further, countries across the world have been allowing industries to start operation gradually. The government in India has classified areas of large outbreak of COVID-19, or clusters with a significant spread of the virus, as ‘hotspots’ or red zones and allowed operation of different manufacturing industries and retail outlets under strict guidelines.

Satish Kumar More, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said it is unfortunate that the government is only extending the lockdown and not coming out with any plans to resume economic activities. “Resuming industrial operation and facilitating businesses hit by the pandemic wholeheartedly is inevitable to help businesses to revive and grow,” he said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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