Nepal's private sector warns of surrendering all businesses if chaos continued

KATHMANDU: The representatives of private sector on Tuesday told Prime Minister Sushil Koirala the industries and businesses in Nepal are not in a state to run further due to the ongoing general strike in Tarai districts, blockade at Nepal-India border and acute shortage of fuel in the country.

Drawing attention of the government, major political parties and agitating parties towards the volatile political situation in the country, the representatives of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries and Nepal Chamber of Commerce, handed over a memorandum to the Prime Minister and urged him to immediately take an initiative, as the executive head of the government, to do the needful to resolve the crisis in national, international and diplomatic levels.

They further said the private sector would be compelled to surrender the keys of all businesses to the government if the current situation continued.

According to them, the private sector has witnessed a loss of billions of rupees as thousands of cargo trucks have been left high and dry on the Indian side due to the obstruction of customs points at the Nepal-India following the promulgation of new Constitution on September 20.

"Normal life has been crippled in the Capital and the other parts of the country. Acute shortage of fuel has hit the Capital and the whole country hard, all sectors have been crippled," the memorandum said. "People and private sector had hoped that peace and security would prevail in the country with the promulgation of Constitution. But the scenario has been just opposite. The country reels under dead silence."

Saying the ongoing strike and the blockade at customs entry points in the wake of devastating earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 have proved to be dearer to the industries and businesses and the entire economy of the country, they wrote, "This has drifted our aspirations for development."

"We would like to inform Your Excellency the Prime Minister that now there is no situation for the industries and businesses to run," they said, adding that the private sector has foreseen a dreadful situation if the ongoing agitation and the shortage of fuel, which is directly related to the daily life and economy, continued for few more days.

"The private sector supported the government and political parties, notwithstanding different problems, when the country was assured of the new constitution. The private sector had expected that the agitation would be brief. But after seeing the nature of agitation and protest programmes of the political parties and groups, the private sector has been petrified and discouraged."

The FNCCI repeatedly met and appealed to the Prime Minister, ministers, senior officials, and leaders of ruling as well as agitating political parties to resolve the crisis, guarantee people's right to live and run businesses, the memorandum read, "But as our voice and request were neglected the entire economy is on the verge of crash."

Saying it was high time the government and political parties became serious, the private sector urged the stakeholders to form high-level talks team to hold formal dialogue in order to resolve the issues.