Young entrepreneurs voice concerns about ailing economy

Young entrepreneurs and established business professionals in Province 1 on Friday flagged concerns about how the federal government exerted an undue influence on the province’s economy.

They said that the provincial government did not function as per its objective as all decisions are made by Kathmandu.

During an interaction titled ‘Coffee With The Kathmandu Post’ organized by the Kantipur Media Group in Biratnagar, entrepreneurs said the country’s economic situation was getting worse from bad.

“Biratnagar is known as the industrial hub. But factories here are closing one after another mainly due to unstable economic policies,” said Sanjeev Koirala, an entrepreneur.

Participants said that the interest rates on loans are so high that investors are being discouraged.

“We are clueless in which direction the country’s economy is heading,” said another participant.

The banks are offering higher interest rates on fixed deposits. This will make loans to do business costlier. In this situation, why would anyone invest in a business? There is higher earning on deposits than an investment, said startup entrepreneurs.

With the Indian government imposing restrictions on food exports, the business of Nepal’s flour and rice mills has been affected, said entrepreneurs during the interaction.

Hemanta Agrawal, a member of the Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said the import ban on goods has already had a negative impact on the business. “There is difficulty in getting raw materials on time. The ordered goods are not delivered on time. On top of all these issues, the high cost of production has made our goods less competitive.”

Due to India’s export restrictions, most of the flour and rice mills in Biratnagar are on the verge of closure.

Industrialists in Province 1 say manufacturers are going through plenty of problems, which remain unaddressed by the federal and provincial governments.

“It’s due to the frequent changes in the policies and programs with the change in government. This does not help industrial development,” said participants.

Emerging entrepreneurs said foreign investors cannot be attracted to the country at a time when there is no environment for investments.

The government is least bothered to attract investments. There are no jobs without investment and youths are forced to leave the country in droves, said Agrawal.

Participants also raised their concerns about climate change. They said that agriculture has been hit by the phenomenon.

The participants said that media coverage of economic issues was not enough.

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