Kathmandu, May 16
As the government is busy framing the new fiscal policy and is preparing to table the 2018-19 fiscal budget in the Parliament on May 29 as required by the Constitution, the private sector is expecting the new fiscal policy to integrate agendas that will boost the country’s production base.
Talking to The Himalayan Times, leaders of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) — the three bodies representing the country’s private sector — said that it is only through enhancing the production sector that Nepal can achieve its development and prosperity goals.
“Nepal’s open import policies have made it difficult for the country to strengthen its own production base. Thus, it is high time for the government to regulate imports and boost production in a bid to make Nepal’s economy competitive,” said Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of CNI.
Sharma suggested revisiting duty structure, incentives, business-related laws and policies and forming a separate import regulatory body to boost the morale of investors in the production sector.
“Expectations are high with this government. The government should be bold enough to introduce policies through the budget that are investment-friendly,” added Sharma.
Shekhar Golchha, senior vice-president of FNCCI, said that the fiscal budget for 2018-19 should primarily incorporate agendas that encourage the private sector to make investments in production sector.
“There is an urgent need to reform the country’s banking sector as the sector lacks capacity to support the growth projections of the economy. Similarly, the budget should address the problem related to stability of interest rates on loans in the banking
sector,” said Golchha.
As per him, contextualising all business-related policies and laws, endorsing the new Labour Act and Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act (FITTA) at the earliest, rectifying the duties on different products and services and adopting scientific ways of inspecting market anomalies are other crucial factors for drawing in investment in production sector.
Similarly, Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, president of NCC, said that the new fiscal policy should focus on effective ways to achieve double-digit economic growth and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“However, these targets can be met only if the government introduces programmes and policies that boost the country’s production base, increase exports and generate employment opportunities,” said Shrestha, adding that the government should ensure that the new budget incorporatessuggestions of the private sector.
All three private sector representing bodies are preparing to hand over their suggestion papers to the government regarding budget formulation within this week.
A version of this article appears in print on May 17, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.