Who said what

Following the announcement of the ‘Policies and Programmes’, The Himalayan Times spoke to a few eminent business personalities to gauge the general mood. Here is what they had to say...

Most of the Policies and Programmes announced by the President for the next fiscal year are not new. This may be because the government has limitations at present, as it has to focus more on rehabilitation and reconstruction. Yet, we welcome the announcement made by the President to engage the private sector in reconstruction activities. Now it is the government’s duty to roll out proper policies and strategies to increase participation of the private sector on this front. Also, what the government needs to focus on is implementation. As of now, we have only seen the government making tall promises. But it has always failed to deliver. So, it is high time the government walk the talk.

  • Pashupati Murarka, President, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry

We welcome the proposal to update hydropower development master-plans on Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali and Mahakali basins. Also, proposals to frame a new law on land acquisition and promote construction of reservoir-based hydropower projects are welcome steps. However, Policies and Programmes announced by the President did not utter a word on implementation of Power Trade Agreement signed with India last year. In order to kick-start power trading between Nepal and India, proper institutions need to be put in place, and there should also be room for the private sector in that business. Also, the Policies and Programmes failed to address problems being faced by hydro project developers who suffered losses during recent earthquakes.

  • Khadga Bahadur Bisht, President, Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal

The Policies and Programmes did mention about country’s widening trade deficit. And the President said it would be narrowed by promoting exports and increasing production of goods and services. But this sounds like lip service, as no concrete plan was announced to promote overseas trade. Hollow promises will not help Nepal at this stage because trade deficit is widening at an alarming pace. To narrow this, we have to introduce unique products and market them internationally. Also, new markets have to be identified abroad so that there is an option for traders to reach out to new places. In this regard, the government must effectively rely on economic diplomacy so that Nepal’s business interests can be promoted in foreign lands.

  • Akhil Kumar Chapagain, former president, Nepal Foreign Trade Association

The Policies and Programmes unveiled today by the President look timely. But it is yet to be seen how the government will allocate budget for projects announced today. The government generally fails to allot adequate budget for viable projects and earmarks huge funds for projects that are not ready for implementation.

As a result, the government generally fails to utilise a big chunk of capital budget. In this regard, the government should create an inventory of all viable projects that could be immediately implemented.

If that is done, Nepal can easily utilise capital budget of up to Rs 100 billion every month. This would only lead the country towards prosperity.

  • Jay Ram Lamichhane, former president, Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal