Traders criticise govt for not incorporating suggestions in budget

Kathmandu, May 31

Traders affiliated to Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN) today expressed serious concerns on the government’s failure to bring a trade-friendly budget for 2017-18.

Issuing separate press statements, traders of both organisations have said that the new budget is not business-friendly as it has not addressed the demands put forth by the traders earlier.

According to NCC, the government has overlooked the suggestions of the private sector. The NCC had sought revision in customs tax, VAT and income tax rates on different products. It had also wanted the government to adopt concrete steps to facilitate domestic trade and increase export subsidy for traders on different exportable products, among others.

“The budget has not prioritised investment and export promotion in the country. Similarly, it has also not introduced any concrete measures to capitalise on the ambitious growth target of 7.2 per cent in the next fiscal year,” the NCC statement reads. “With such issues not addressed, the budget has discouraged us.”

However, focus on institutionalising the federal system, priority for reconstruction, elections and employment generation, enough budget allocation to the national priority projects and national pride projects, commitment to modernise agriculture and high focus on connectivity, among others, are the better aspects of the budget, as per NCC.

Similarly, handicraft traders of the country have said that the budget did not give priority to promote export

of domestic handicraft products though export of handicraft products has been playing a crucial role to narrow Nepal’s trade deficit gap.

“We had time and again urged the government to hike export subsidy to 10 per cent on handicraft products and suggested the government to establish a Craft Village to promote Nepali handicraft products. However, the budget did not incorporate any one of our suggestions,” the press statement of FHAN reads.

Handicraft traders also said that the government’s target to generate 500,000 employment opportunities in 2017-18 is baseless as the budget does not seem to have introduced any measures to materialise such an ambitious target.