Pvt sector’s umbrella organisation splitting?

Kathmandu, August 15

A few executive members of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) suspect foul play in the government forming a study committee to look into issues of private sector, as it comprises a few industrialists while excludes the representation of the federation.

“Formation of the study panel seems like an initiation of a ‘master plan’ to divide the private sector and impede our growth,” said one high-level FNCCI member, requesting anonymity.

The government, on Tuesday, had formed a study committee to look into the issues of private sector under the coordination of Revenue Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana and comprising members of different district chambers of the federation, but not from FNCCI — the largest umbrella organisation representing the private sector.

Along with exclusion of FNCCI in the study panel, few other cases like the concept of ‘4B’ platform for industries within the industrial corridor, withdrawal of FNCCI membership by Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), among others, have surfaced. All these incidences seem aimed at dividing the private sector, as per the FNCCI member.

Stating that FNCCI has overlooked the concerns raised by industries in industrial corridor, industries located in Bhairahawa, Butwal, Biratnagar and Birgunj have been promoting the concept of ‘4B’ to represent the industries within this region. Similarly, a week ago the NCC withdrew its FNCCI membership.

Bhim Ghimire, president of Morang Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that the industrialists in the industrial corridor were obliged to knock on the government’s door themselves to have their key issues — like rising bank interest rate and other matters related to taxation in the federal system and labour market — addresses due to weak facilitation from FNCCI.

“However, it does not mean that we are detached from FNCCI,” informed Ghimire.

Meanwhile, the FNCCI official alleged that all the aforementioned developments are a result of political influence in industries and the industrial sector.

A faction of industries that are also members of FNCCI are promoting their own platforms and negotiating with the government on industrial issues without seeking consent of their representing umbrella body (FNCCI), another official said. This has not only brought to the fore the underlying tensions among industries and bodies representing them, but also hinted at the possibility of the FNCCI splitting in the near future.

If that were to happen, however, it would be against the growth of the private sector, said the FNCCI source.

However, government officials said that the committee was formed primarily to study and address business issues inside the industrial corridor. A few days ago, industrial corridor industrialists had met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and urged him to ensure conducive business environment in the industrial corridor and the entire industrial sector.

“Subsequently, the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) had felt the need to form the committee to this effect,” informed a source at Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Meanwhile, a few members of FNCCI executive committee have also expressed their reservations with the leadership at the organisation for not being active in resolving the current crisis. “Being the representative of industries and the private sector, FNCCI and its leadership should have facilitated the concerns of industries and ensured that industries remain united,” the FNCCI source said.