Kathmandu, May 3
The government’s policies and programmes for next fiscal year 2019-20 do not have any new plan or programme for the tourism and aviation sector of the country.
The policies and programmes for next fiscal announced today have promised to complete the ongoing projects of the tourism and aviation sectors. However, no new programmes have been declared.
Announcing the policies and programmes, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari said that the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) will come into operation by the end of 2019. “Around 75 per cent of construction work of GBIA has been completed so far. The work will be sped up aiming to complete the construction and bring the airport into operation by 2019-end,” she said.
However, GBIA Project Manager Prabesh Adhikari had earlier told The Himalayan Times that though the physical construction of the airport would be completed by the end of 2019, it would take some more time to bring the airport into operation. This is because once the infrastructural work (ICB 01) is completed, the second phase of the project, which involves installing the equipment (ICB 02), will begin.
Likewise, the policies and programmes have also declared that the Pokhara Regional International Airport will be ready to handle regional international flights by 2021. “Meanwhile, the construction of Nijgadh International Airport (NIA) will begin soon,” President Bhandari said.
“Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) will be upgraded into a boutique airport that will reflect the cultural and historical identity of the country with 24-hour operation service,” she added.
Meanwhile, domestic airports will be constructed in remote areas of the country and the domestic airports that are in operation will be upgraded.
The president further said that the new policies and programmes have targeted to operate night flight services from all domestic airports of the country.
Similarly, President Bhandari announced that an event titled ‘Kathmandu Valley by Night’ will be organised to promote nightlife attractions of Kathmandu valley. She further said that the government will focus on making the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign, which has targeted to bring two million tourists by 2020, a success.
It has to be noted that all the aforementioned announcements of the government for the next fiscal were also announced when the policies and programmes of the current fiscal were presented last year.
Private sector’s reactions
The government’s policies and programmes are ambitious. We expect the government to properly implement the targets that it has set. We are optimistic of brighter days ahead as the government has prioritised economic and development agenda in its policies and programmes. Though there are many challenges in achieving the goals set in the policies and programmes, it does offer many opportunities too. One really good aspect is that the government seems to have a clear vision regarding the economy. The government did mention about increasing social security allowances by the next fiscal year but it will be a daunting task as the government has yet to finalise the sources for those allowances. Since we have limited resources in the country the government needs to be careful before taking any major decision. The government always releases ambitious plans but the perennial problem is that they are not properly implemented and even if they are implemented there is no strong mechanism to monitor them. Now, we will have to wait and see how the government will synchronise the policies and programmes with the budget.
— Satish Kumar More
President, Confederation of Nepalese Industries
The government always releases policies and programmes to grab the attention of the public. However, the one that was unveiled today is similar to the previous ones. I feel that the government should have studied the economic models adopted by various other countries that have seen rapid economic development before launching any policies and programmes. This year too the government has talked about increasing social security allowances but I feel it is baseless. Before we think about wealth distribution we should focus on wealth generation. Earlier, the government had set a target to produce 15,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 10 years. If the government is able to fulfil this pledge then it will definitely boost the morale of the private sector.
— Shailendra Guragain
President, Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal
We welcome the government’s policies and programmes. The government has tried to incorporate the things that are essential to create a favourable economic environment and I would say the policies and programmes are as per our expectations. I feel that this is the first time that the policies and programmes is based on ground reality but what needs to be focused on now is proper implementation. The policies and programmes has spoken on the key issues that are required to reform the country’s economic and development agenda. It is more private sector and business-friendly as it has adopted measures to boost production and export based economy.
— Rajesh Kazi Shrestha
President, Nepal Chamber of Commerce
A version of this article appears in print on May 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.