Nepal | August 11, 2020

Govt’s relief packages to be sustainable, realistic

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 19

Amid the business community criticising the government for not introducing concrete relief packages for businesses affected by the COVID-19, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that necessary relief packages based on availability of resources would be brought after detailed assessment of the impact of the pandemic on businesses.

Addressing questions raised by lawmakers in the House of Representatives on the government’s policies and programmes for fiscal year 2020-21 today, PM Oli said, “The government is carrying out a detailed assessment of the losses that different sectors and the entire economy are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the government is under pressure to manage resources, relief packages will be announced for deserving and needy sectors in the coming days based on the availability of resources.”

Citing that the government is serious towards facilitating businesses and reviving the economy, the prime minister said that relief packages will be realistic and address key requirements of the economy. “However, the first priority of the government and its policies and programmes is to save people’s lives and contain the spread of the coronavirus in Nepal. Economy, businesses, development and other issues come only after people’s lives,” he said.

Acknowledging that the coronavirus has had an adverse impact on the economy by affecting production and revenue collection, Oli said that efforts will be made to drive Nepal’s economy towards self-sustainability in the coming days. “Almost all economies across the world that are coping with the coronavirus have witnessed negative growth in production. Adequate domestic production is the only way to upscale the economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, PM Oli also said that raising production base and switching towards self-sustainability are necessary also because external sources will not always be there to fill the resources gap of the country. “As the spread of the coronavirus has not been contained and economies across the world are facing a hard time, donor agencies and other countries may not always be there to support us. Thus, self-sustainability should be our target,” he reiterated.

According to him, the government is focusing on creating job opportunities for those in need across different sectors, including agriculture, to ensure the sustainability of people’s lives and the entire economy at large.

On evacuating Nepali migrant workers, PM Oli said that this is a challenging job and the government will handle it cautiously. “Bringing millions of migrant workers back home is not easy like other countries repatriating a few hundreds of their citizens from Nepal,” he said. “Instead, the government has requested different countries through diplomatic channels to provide equal treatment to Nepali workers like their citizens until the situation turns normal.”

However, Oli informed that discussions are underway to evacuate those Nepalis abroad who are in real trouble.

Though the main opposition party Nepali Congress and other parties had expressed reservations over the government’s policies and programmes, the House of Representatives endorsed the policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year with a majority.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 20, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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