Stakeholders seek integrated policy to regulate businesses

Kathmandu, December 5

Stakeholders have stressed on the need for the government to formulate integrated laws governing the business sector to promote investment in the country.

Outlining that contradictions in multiple business-related laws and policies have been discouraging potential growth of business sector, they emphasised that a unified policy could provide a much needed boost to businesses and investment growth in Nepal.

“Even today, Nepal has some unnecessary laws and policies that are affecting businesses and investment. It is high time for the government to scrap such obsolete and unnecessary policies and introduce an integrated policy to regulate the business sector,” said former finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal while addressing a discussion programme.

Multiple business- and investment-related policies formulated by different ministries are contradictory and ambiguous, thereby discouraging business persons, as per him. “For instance, tax waiver and subsidy on any good and service can be given only through the Financial Act. However, other policies have been giving tax subsidy to businesses and investors under different headings,” informed Khanal.

He also said that the registration and exit process for companies in Nepal are yet to be simplified as procedural hurdles are the primary factors that businessmen and investors look at before injecting investment in any country.

Khanal also opined that there should not be any minimum threshold and capital requirement for investors to invest in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Madhav Poudel, president of Nepal Law Commission, said that the government is facing difficulty in addressing various practical hurdles in existing policies and laws.

“The government is aware of all policy hurdles and contradictions in the existing laws that are discouraging businesses. While it is working to gradually address such issues, the government agencies are facing structural problems and difficulties related to coordination,” said Poudel.

Acknowledging the importance of bringing integrated policy to regulate businesses and investment, Poudel said that the concept has to be brought to light and discussed widely among stakeholders.

Uday Raj Sapkota, joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), on the other hand, claimed that the government is serious about addressing the issues of policy ambiguity and contradictions. He said that the private sector should, nevertheless, clearly communicate about the problems they are facing due to existing policies and come up with feasible recommendations.

Similarly, Niranjan Shrestha, director of Laxmi Group, said that contradictory policies have been deteriorating business and investment environment in the country.

The event was jointly organised by Samriddhi Foundation and the Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal.