KATHMANDU, JANUARY 11
Even though the government has brought a policy of refinancing for the recovery of private industries, tourism entrepreneurs say that the policy is not being implemented effectively.
Lengthy process, and lack of proper response and monitoring from the government are affecting its refinancing scheme, according to stakeholders. The tourism entrepreneurs also claim that those with access to high-level officials are the only ones taking advantage of this policy.
“The age-old trend of ineffective implementation of policies has continued even during this crisis,” said Binayak Shah, senior vice-president of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN).
He further said that the concerned authorities have not even perused the applications submitted by tourism entrepreneurs in August of last year.
“We had clearly urged the government to make the process short and easy for the refinancing process, however, the problem has remained as it is,” he said, adding, “People with ‘contacts’ are getting loans easily, but others — though they applied for the refinancing facility as soon as it was launched — have been left waiting.”
Even after submitting all the required documents the banks are not responding properly, he added. He further said that Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is not monitoring the activities properly.
Meanwhile, Khum Subedi, president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), said that the application for refinancing for the trekking sector was called just a week ago. “Although late, we are happy that at least the applications for refinancing for our sector has been called.”
He, however, expressed his doubt over the effective implementation of the provision for the sector. “We just hope that the processes will not be cumbersome,” he said, “However, we are cautiously optimistic as we have seen others still struggling to get the loan.”
He also emphasised on the need to provide loans at the same interest rate — five per cent — for new debtors.
Meanwhile, HAN President Shreejana Rana said that the private sector has been requesting the government time and again for effective implementation of the policy and necessary amendment, but to no avail.
The maximum limit of the General Refinance Facility is fixed at Rs 200 million per customer which is lower compared to previous threshold of Rs 500 million, she said. “This limit will not be enough for the higher category hotels with higher debt portions. Thus, HAN has proposed to fix the maximum limit of 50 per cent of existing loans or Rs 600 million, whichever is higher, for hotels operating for more than three years and no limit for the hotels which are in operation since three years.
In response to the stakeholders’ issues, Joint Spokesperson for NRB Narayan Pokhrel said that the refinancing facility is being gradually implemented and things are being managed accordingly. Thus, there is no hurry in monitoring however he assures that the problem will be solved gradually.
“The first round of application call and approvals has been completed and the second round of applications has been called recently,” he said, adding, “Thus, we are in the implementation phase of the policy.”
Pokhrel further said that a large number of applications is being submitted and they have to evaluate each of them, which is taking time.
That’s why the process might seem lengthy for any particular sector however, the work is going on smoothly.
“After completing the second round of work we will take forth monitoring and evaluating the policy implementation part,” he added.