Nepal | July 04, 2020

It was a black year, say entrepreneurs

Tilakram Rimal
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Chitwan, April 11

Entrepreneurs and industrialists in Chitwan have described the outgoing Nepali year 2072 BS (mid-April 2015 to April 12, 2016) as a black year after the deadly earthquake, Tarai agitation and the border blockade for it left Nepal’s business and trade in the doldrums.

The year is about to end, but industries and factories are yet to come back on track in the district.

Chairman Rajan Gautam of Chitwan chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said this year was the worst for business activity. “This year, business incurred more loss than in the ten years of Maoist insurgency,” Gautam said. “This year has taught us how dependent we are on others,” said Gautam, adding, “We have to focus on production-oriented investment”.

Known as the poultry capital, Chitwan bore a massive loss in this sector this year. Poultry entrepreneur Tilchandra Bhattarai said that Nepal lost Rs 3 billion in the poultry business this year alone. Bhattarai said it would take three years to compensate the loss if the situation becomes normal. “This year is a black year for entrepreneurs and industrialists,” Bhattarai said.

Industry Organisation Chitwan Chairman Bhim Bahadur Pandey said that no entrepreneur was able to pay the bank loan and installment this year. Pandey claimed that industries might not be able to return to their earlier state if the government did not come up with concrete plans to rescue business.

The deadly earthquake and blockade at Nepal’s border points had brought construction work to a halt. Even 20 per cent work in many projects is not going to be completed within the current fiscal. Workers are staying idle, while machines and equipment are gathering dust for want of work. All this has affected entrepreneurs, said Hom Kumar Acharya, Chairman of Construction Entrepreneurs’ Association Chitwan. Mitraraj Dawadi, former chairman of Chitwan Chapter of FNCCI, said the situation this year was worse than that of the Maoist insurgency period. Dawadi blamed the government for its failure to assure entrepreneurs of a comeback. He asked the government to come up with concrete plans to
give momentum to the economy.

No different was the plight of tourism sector. Regional Hotel Association Sauraha former chairman Giridhari Chaudhary said this was the first time his business had incurred such a big loss. Chaudhary, who has been running Park Cottage for the past 34 years, said, “I had to extend the installment by six months.” With the massive impact of the quake and blockade on the entire economy, normalcy is yet to return to the market.

Shortage of petroleum products still persists in the district making lives of the people hard.

A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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