Govt urged to fulfil commitments

Kathmandu, June 4:

The business community today complained the government for not being able to fulfil its commitments in improving investment climate and providing industrial security.

Speaking at the special meeting of the 41st annual general meeting of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), the participating entrepreneurs urged the government to stand by its commitments.

They also raised serious concerns over deteriorating law and order situation, weakening investment environment, political instability, and lack of clear-cut economic policies that have hit the economy hard. Most of the district and municipal chamber representatives complained over the Maoists’ high-handedness even after joining the Interim Parliament and government.

Chandi Raj Dhakal, FNCCI president, on the occasion, said that the private sector has

yet not felt that peace has been restored. “The political chaos, lack of industrial security and good governance, labour dispute and bureaucratic red-tape are some of the outstanding issues that need timely address,” he said.

Presenting FNCCI’s recommendations for the coming budget, Kush Kumar Joshi, second vice-president said that the coalition government lacks common economic agenda and most of the economic policies are revenue oriented rather than business and investment friendly. “In contrary to free market policy, syndication is everywhere and the government is a mere spectator,” he said.

Om Prakash Sharma of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) lambasted the government’s incapability to ensure a proper law and order situation at a time when the cadres of the ruling party are mocking the rule of law. “The government says everything is under control, but extortion, abduction, and physical assault are still continuing,” he said.

Jeevan Nepal, president of Morang Merchants’ Association, said that the taxes levied at the local level were too many and too steep. “Defying the government’s directives, many local authorities are still levying various taxes and misusing them in the name of development,” he complained.

“The private sector has been hurt by the syndication in transport sector,” said Deepak Shrestha, president of Makwanpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He also complained that the government is not serious about executing development activities, as there is no local authorities.

Responding the queries, finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat admitted the lack of conducive environment for investment. “The investment climate is directly linked with political situation, which is yet to be up to the expectations,” he added.

He, however, assured that the government would try to address all the concerns and issues of the private sector in the coming budget, which will focus on reviving the business confidence, reconstruction, rehabilitation, infrastructure development and employment generation.

Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, state minister for water resources admitted that the problem is at the implementation phase. He also said that the government would soon bring a plan for generating 5000 MW hydroelectricity in the next 10 years. “Government would soon scrutinise the licences that have been held by some ‘unscrupulous’ generators for long,” he informed.

Political settlement is first priority

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 4:Maoist chairman Prachanda said today that industrial revolution would not be possible in the country without doing away with the traditional feudal system relying on ‘rent’ and ‘commission’ from foreign compradors and commission agents. “We are still in the process of resolving political issues. Therefore, the country’s modernisation is a distant dream,” Prachanda said, addressing FNCCI AGM.

Replying to the queries, Prachanda said they had returned to peace process to make a new Nepal. “But no sooner we signed the eight-point agreement, foreign for-ces raised hackles against it and rumoured that the pact was done on Maoist agenda. They, in fact, wanted us to go back to the jungle as our presence in government would not have served their vested interests,” he said.

He said that foreigners were against our entry into the peace process, as their interests would not have served. He said that foreigners had control over the country’s industries, hence, the Nepali industries never prospered. “The foreigners and their commission agents at home waged jihad against us when we proposed a slight amendments to the conditions on the Melamchi Drinking Water Project,” he said adding that the foreigners waged media war against Maoists after they refused to receive their commission on the project.

He also revealed the fact that the ongoing peace proc-ess was put off for two mon-ths because of the foreign intervention over the project. “Our party would have benefited from commission, but the nationalism would have weakened, he said. “The national capitalists could be included in the Melamchi project provided that the government had a clear vision.”

Prachanda said it was not ‘extortion’ when the foreign compradors looted nation’s assets and resources but a section of society made a hue and cry when the Maoists asked for a donation.

Giving blue print of economic policy, another leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai said that Nepal had already lost 200-year of opportunity. “Industrial revolution is not possible without doing away with the monarchy that relies on rent and commission,” he said adding that they wanted to promote capitalistic economy, attract FDI in areas generating employment, building infrastructure and transfer of technology and modernise agriculture sector.

“The state must take responsibility on road, education, health and communication while the private sector could be involved in agriculture, tourism, service and financial sector,” he said add-ing that a country could not be modernised without giving a protection to the national industries. “USA, France and Japan have also given pr-otection to their industries.”