Budget disappoints private sector


KATHMANDU, May 31: The provincial heads of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and businesspeople across the country have termed the new budget  underwhelming. Though apparently  grand, it lacks substance, they said. 

According to Mohan Prasad Shrestha, Province 5 treasurer of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, the private sector was expecting a far better budget plan from the government. However, their hopes have gone unmet. 

“We hoped it would be different from the past. But, we feel there is not much change. It looks a bit progressive but not as much as we had thought,” he said, adding that it was low on ‘specifics’.

Businesspersons and industrialists from Province 3 have expressed doubts over the implementation of the budget. Dr Til Chandra Bhattarai, central member of FNCCI, stated that it is not very convincing. “Many crucial things have not been covered by the budget. Moreover, we are doubtful that even the few positive things it has promised will be implemented tomorrow,” he said. 

According to Bhattarai, railway, airway and road development has received a good slice of the budget pie. Yet, this alone would not help boost tourism and the private sector. The budget has not addressed the middle class and there are no plans to maximize local production, he observed. “Industry has not been a priority.” 

Former member of FNCCI Nirmal Chaudhari commented that the budget has failed to breathe new  life into tourism, agriculture or manufacturing . “Even infrastructure-wise, I’m not impressed. The government should have thought of better alternatives to the many dilapidated roads. In lack of good transportation, many things have been crippled, including business,” he said. 

Province 2 president of FNCCI  Shiva Shankar ‘Hira’ compared the budget to the proverbial ‘elephant’s teeth’. “They show one set of teeth but the real teeth remain hidden. Though it looks grand from the outside, it is not going to yield any results,” he said. 

He added that the government has failed to focus on tourism and agriculture, which are the main hopes for development in Province  2. “For instance, they could have talked about exporting our mangoes from Siraha, which is famous for the fruit. Similarly, there is no mention of promoting religious sites. They have simply ignored tourism  potential here,” he added. 

Lalit Sah, president of Janakpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also expressed his dissatisfaction. He said the government has failed miserably  to appreciate the potentials of Province 2. “The budget has not reflected the spirit of the common people. It does not please the private sector either,” he said. 

The business sector in Province 4 is also not happy with the budget. According to Ananda Raj Mulmi, former president of FNCCI, the budget lacks any novelty and when it comes to Province 4 and has failed to recognize the province’s special potentials.  “The budget needed to identify the potentials of the provinces and plan accordingly. The budget is  superficial and  will not yield any significant result,” he said. 

The business community in Province 7 likewise expressed little excitement over the budget. “There is no plan to promote the export of our products. Employment generation also does not seem to be a government priority,” said Shankar Bogati, president of FNCCI in the province. “The private sector had hoped the government would speak about linking Urai Bhanjyang of Bajhang to Gaurifanta to access the borders of both India and China. But the budget is silent on this. There are many such lapses. We don’t feel encouraged at all,” he added. 

May 31, 2018 03:38 PM