April 22: Stating that the ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus has had a chain effect on the overall economy of the country, the private sector has urged the government to announce a fiscal stimulus package worth 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
A joint proposal prepared by the umbrella bodies of the private sector including the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) made such recommendation to the government.
They have urged the government to immediately announce a financial stimulus package. The private sector lamented that their businesses have been completely halted due to the lockdown since a month but the government is yet to announce a financial stimulus package.
The proposal mentions that the private businesses and industries are on the verge of collapse and therefore require government support to boost their morale in such testing times.
NCC Vice President Rajendra Malla informed that the private sector is preparing to present the proposal to the government requesting short-term, middle-term and long-term support to minimize the impacts of the lockdown on the businesses.
After a week-long discussions, the three organisations representing the private sector decided to seek support from the government in basically four sectors - policy reforms, monetary, labour and employment, and electricity.
The proposal includes renewal of loan and deferral of payment to the workers in case the lockdown gets extended.
They have also demanded reduction in bank’s rate of interest by 5 percent and setting up of a fund of Rs 100 billion for renewal of loan. The private sector has requested the government to provide concessional loan from the fund to the businesses that are facing losses due to the lockdown.
The private sector has maintained that it will take some time for their business to get back on track even if the government lifts the lockdown.
The Labour Act 2074 has provision for the private sector to keep their employees standby during crisis and to pay 50 percent salary during such times. Therefore, the private sector has urged the government to allow them to pay 50 percent salary to their staffers.