Pvt sector doubts implementation of budget, monetary policy

Kathmandu, July 21

Representatives from private sector organisations are sceptical on the proper implementation of the budget and monetary policy of the current fiscal year.

In a programme organised by the Management Association of Nepal (MAN), leaders from the private sector said that the government’s capacity to spend the budget or rather the lack of it is the major hurdle for the development of the nation.

Umesh Lal Shrestha, vice-president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that the budget has not laid emphasis on promoting domestic industries. “Without prioritising domestic industries, the economic growth target cannot be achieved,” he stated, adding that the government has failed to take any concrete steps to promote local businesses.

Shrestha also said that the government should ban the import of goods manufactured by foreign producers if the same type of products are already being produced by domestic companies. “Our priority must be to support the productive sector but government policies have failed to do so.”

Likewise, Naresh Shrestha, chairman of the International Relations Committee of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said that the monetary policy unveiled by Nepal Rastra Bank has not been successful in reducing the high interest rates being charged by banks and financial institutions on loans. “Investors are being saddled due to the high interest rates but the central bank has been unable to control or reduce it,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Bangladesh Bank and Vice President of Nepal Bankers’ Association Gyanendra Dhungana also raised questions on whether the central bank’s strategy to maintain 18 per cent growth in broad money supply will help achieve the economic growth target of 7.2 per cent. “The central bank needs to review this policy,” he added.

Dhungana also said that commercial banks cannot invest 10 per cent of their total lending portfolio in agriculture in fiscal 2017-18. “Banks are already about to fulfil the 15 per cent criteria on investment in hydropower sector but it will be difficult to lend in the agriculture sector unless the sector is redefined,” he said.

On the occasion, Chief Executive Officer of Investment Board Nepal Maha Prasad Adhikari, who is also a former deputy governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, said that lower capital expenditure of the government will affect the investment of the private sector too. “It will be challenging to increase private sector lending by 20 per cent given the sluggish pace of capital expenditure being witnessed in previous fiscals,” he added.

Reassuring the participants in the programme, Finance Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki said that the government will implement the budget to meet the economic growth target. “We have to increase the pace of reconstruction works, which will help spur economic activities,” he added. “Implementation of federal structure of governance and development projects will support economic development of the country.”

Minister Karki also added that the government will implement the policies to enhance the productive sector. “The government will try to enhance investment from the private sector too,” he informed.