Nepal | June 04, 2020

Government’s stimulus packages inadequate, laments private sector

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 1

While the government and the central bank have introduced relief packages twice with an aim to support businesses hit by COVID-19, the private sector has said that the announced measures are inadequate and do not fully address the concerns of the business community.

Though the recent decision of the Nepal Rastra Bank to bring down the interest rate on loans by two percentage points and the government’s decision to raise refinancing fund to Rs 100 billion and defer tax payment period are welcome measures, private sector representatives say that there is still a huge void that the government needs to fill to boost the morale of the business community.

“The government seems to be trying to help businesses, but it has failed to address the basic problems that industries are facing. We had notified the government that the firms could pay only 50 per cent salary of Baisakh to workers, but it has indirectly asked us to pay 100 per cent salary for the month, which is not acceptable,” said Shekhar Golchha, senior vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Assuring businesses that they would be provided subsidised loan facilities in case they face liquidity problem, the government had directed firms to immediately issue 50 per cent salary of workers for Baisakh and gradually pay the remaining amount after their businesses resume. However, Golchha said no business was in a position to pay more than 50 per cent to workers as all firms had been shut for almost one-and-a half months.

He added that the government’s stimulus package had not addressed the concerns of small and medium enterprises, especially at local levels. “Businesses, especially the small scale businesses, require more subsidies on the interest rate than what has been provided. As the government has raised the size of the refinancing fund, it should ensure that SMEs have access to this refinancing facility as only big businesses have had access to such loans so far,” Golchha told THT.

The FNCCI has called a meeting on Saturday to discuss and develop a common opinion on the government’s response towards the private sector’s concerns.

Satis Kumar More, president of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said decisions to defer tax payment period and raise the size of the refinancing fund are welcome and are immediate measures required. However, he said businesses had not only suffered during the lockdown, but were likely to suffer for months even after the lockdown was lifted and thus the government package was inadequate.

“While addressing the plight of workers, the government has forgotten the plight of industries that have remained shut for more than a month and whose operation is uncertain in near future,” said More, adding the government had also suggested businesses ways to sustain their staff and operation.

Hoteliers also seem to be dissatisfied with the government. “The tourism industry, especially the hotel sector, has been hit harder than others, but the government’s relief package does not talk much about the problems of the hotel sector,” said Shreejana Rana, president of Hotel Association Nepal.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:


Brazil sets another record for daily coronavirus deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil registered another record number of novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday evening, as the pandemic in Latin America's largest country shows no signs of slowing down. The nation registered 28,936 additional cases of the nove Read More...

High-level panel to decide on easing lockdown by tomorrow

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel will decide in a day or two whether or not to ease the lockdown. Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bi Read More...

FIFA adds voice to protests over Floyd's death

BERN: World soccer's governing body FIFA has joined sports leagues, teams and players around the globe to express solidarity amid outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States. The National Football League, National Hockey League an Read More...

Nepal's ruling party stresses dialogue with India to resolve territorial dispute 

Kathmandu, June 2  Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Narayan Kaji Shrestha urged India to sit for dialogue with Nepal to resolve Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani issues. He welcomed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's remark about resolving border disputes with Nepal through dia Read More...

Nepali Congress registers statute amendment bill 

Kathmandu, June 2 The main opposition Nepali Congress today registered a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to change the constitution's provisions related to citizenship, language, provincial boundaries and formation of a boundary commission. Eight Nepal Read More...

Dhangadi  quarantine

Quarantines in Sudurpaschim bursting at seams 

Dhangadhi, June 2  With the increasing number of returnees from India, the quarantine facilities in Sudupaschim Province are almost packed. The number of migrant workers returning home from India is increasing every day. According to Kailali District Administration Office, around 5,000 Read More...

Nine businessmen held for gambling, remanded to custody 

Kathmandu, June 2 Nine businessmen, some of whom are ‘well-known faces’ in the business fraternity, were sent to five-day police custody after being arrested from a gambling den last night. Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar KC, also the spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range,  Read More...

PCR tests of all quarantined persons fraught with problems 

Kathmandu, June 2  The Ministry of Health and Population said that implementing the Supreme Court’s order to conduct tests for coronavirus on all quarantined persons across the country using polymerase chain reaction method was a daunting task. Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order Read More...