Revival of sick industries in limbo with change in govt

Kathmandu, October 17

The plan of the earlier government led by KP Sharma Oli to revive various defunct state-owned companies seems to have fallen by the wayside as the current government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba appears less enthused by the idea.

The liaison ministry of domestic industries — Ministry of Industry (MoI) — had begun the process to throw a lifeline to different sick industries of the government amid much fanfare during the tenure of the previous government.

Moreover, the then industry minister Nabindra Raj Joshi had successfully revived Nepal Drugs Ltd (NDL) and had accelerated the process to revive other defunct state entities like Birgunj Sugar Factory, Gorakhkali Rubber Industry, Nepal Orind Magnesite Company and Butwal Yarn Company, among others.

However, with the change in government and leadership in MoI, the revival process of these non-operational government industries has been put on hold.

The current Industry Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa is of the view that the government should only facilitate businesses in the country rather than getting directly involved in operating the industries.

“Government had established numerous industries in the past, when everything was very different. However, with the changing tunes and times, privatisation has been the globally accepted and acknowledged business principle,” said Thapa.

With the change in global market scenario, private sector should be allowed to run industries while the government should only focus on maintaining good governance, according to him.

However, Thapa said that the need of the hour is to promote public-private partnership (PPP) model of doing business in Nepal.

Meanwhile, former industry minister Joshi said that the government should run its own industries to guide the market, ensure product quality and control pricing.

“I believe in liberal policies and the principles of liberal policy allow the government to run industries of essential goods to maintain the quality of essential goods and ensure their effective supply in the market. Running industries of essential goods by the government is justifiable especially in the context of Nepal, where market often undergoes supply constraints of essential goods,” said Joshi.

However, Joshi said that government-run industries should make sure that they are self-sustained and their products and services are competitive in the market.

As per him, government industries not only guide the market but also generate thousands of jobs.