Industrial security must if economy to sail

KATHMANDU: Industrialists today said that the industrial sector can survive only when the government gives a guarantee of security, provides adequate power supply and solves the problem of liquidity crunch.

Highlighting the problems currently facing Nepali industrialists, traders and entrepreneurs during the 57th annual general meeting (AGM) of Nepal Chambers of Commerce (NCC) here today, NCC president Surendra Bir Malakar said, "There is a lack of security, unending bandhs and load-shedding."

He said the growing Balance of Payments (BoP) deficit, shrinking exports, high interest rates and liquidity crunch are bleeding the economy white.

"With the BoP deficit at Rs 20 billion this fiscal year, productivity has declined by 0.5 per cent and in the first six months of the current fiscal year inflation has risen to 11.3 per cent while exports exceeded imports by six per cent," he added.

"The economy is in a critical situation because the government is concentrating more on remittances than on industrial development and giving more priority to revenue collection than private sector promotion," blamed the Chamber's president.

Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president Kush Kumar Joshi seconded Malakar's argument and said that Nepali entrepreneurs do not have a conducive environment for operating their businesses due to lack of security, power shortage, high rate of interest and lack of liquidity.

"If the situation does not improve, the entrepreneurs will be compelled to shut down their businesses," he warned, adding, "It's the bitter truth, not a threat. If businesses collapse, it will be harder for them to take off again."

However, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, as usual, assured them of security. "Nobody notices the improvement in security," he complained, adding that there has been a palpable improvement in security situation, "except for some incidents."

"The government is really trying to create a safer environment for industrialists and working for the establishment of industrial security force," Nepal said. "Since the nation is going through a transitional period, the economic sector is also not unaffected."

He, however, said that it was definitely shocking despite all the forecasts about load-shedding by Nepal Electricity Authority that the government was unable to increase the power supply or bring an alternative energy.