Kathmandu, March 20
While the private sector is seeking supportive packages from the government to sustain their businesses, which have been badly hit due to the global outbreak of coronavirus, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has said that it is carrying out impact assessment of the virus on different sectors.
Sishir Dhungana, secretary at the Ministry of Finance, said that though it is clear that the coronavirus has affected the entire economy of the country, the government is currently assessing sector-specific impact of the pandemic.
Once the assessment is completed, Dhungana said that the government will introduce necessary measures to support the economy and the private sector.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada had stated that the coronavirus impact on the economy would be temporary and all affected sectors, including tourism, would start reviving soon. However, he had vowed to introduce relief packages in the near future addressing the key concerns of the entire private sector.
Among others, tourism entrepreneurs have been seeking special relief packages from the government citing that the coronavirus has hit the tourism sector the most compared to other sectors.
As the inflow of foreign tourists has halted completely, while the movement of domestic tourists has also slowed down, tourism entrepreneurs have started shutting down their businesses gradually.
Among others, five-star hotel Marriott has shut its business from today, while Hyatt Regency has announced it is temporarily ceasing its operations from Saturday.
Tourism entrepreneurs have been primarily urging the government to adopt flexible policies regarding tax clearance and payments to banks. Citing that the flow of cash in the tourism industry is completely down, hoteliers have said that they are currently not in a position to pay any taxes and payments to banks and financial institutions.
Similarly, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has already urged the government to facilitate the private sector in issues related to tax payment and loan clearance with the banks.
Pashupati Murarka, former president of FNCCI, said that effective coordination between the private sector and the government to protect the business and the entire economy is crucial at this moment.
“Almost every sector has been affected by coronavirus. It is necessary that the government properly carries out assessment of the impact of the virus and introduce measures to address them immediately,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on March 21, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.