KATHMANDU: Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) organised Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Summit in Lalitpur today.
Addressing the summit, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel said the startup work procedures and provision on project loans will be implemented soon. He also said that he will take the initiative to prepare the startup work procedures.
“It is the government’s weakness that the startup work procedures have not been drafted until now. The work procedures will be passed immediately. The project loans which the private sector has been demanding will also be implemented soon,” he said.
Minister Paudel urged the private sector to give clear suggestions to the government regarding the problems of small and medium enterprises. He said the government will take initiative to identify and resolve the problems of the small, cottage, micro and medium-scale enterprises after taking suggestions from the related sectors.
The Finance Minister urged the private sector to point out and clarify the policy-level ambiguities in the particular sector. He said the government has expected concrete and clear suggestions on how the procedural hassles could be minimised and the service delivery made prompt and convenient.
Minister Paudel expressed his commitment to working towards hearing the problems of the private sector and addressing the justified demands. Further, he suggested that the private sector should also give suggestions as to how the access of SMEs could be increased in the financial sector.
In addition to this, he pledged the government assurances that the interest rate for loans will not be increased.
He asserted that the government had no policy to intervene in Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) affairs but would cooperate to address the existing issues.
In the summit, FNCCI President Shekhar Golchha described small and middle-scale enterprises as the basis for the national economy and pointed out that these sectors were marred by various issues. “The prices of raw materials have skyrocketed. The bank interest rate is high. Small entrepreneurs face challenges to get loans,” he said and added these were causing problems for enterprises to sustain, which he argued was far from investment expansion. He opined that the state should play a role to establish a stable interest rate and a systematic tax system.
President Golchha said that if the SMEs sector, which employs around 1.7 million people, can supply quality products according to the market demand using modern technology, there is a possibility of making great economic progress in the industry in Nepal.
Joni Simpson, Office-in-charge, ILO Country Office for Nepal; Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative for Nepal; and Babacar Sedikh Faye, IFC Resident Representative for Nepal; emphasized the rapid development of SMEs, which play important part in Nepali economy. They said that this will also help to achieve the goal of economic upgradation of Nepal by 2026.
FNCCI Senior Vice President Chandra Prasad Dhakal assured that the federation is preparing to launch SMEs Service Centre to help SMEs and later it will be expanded to chapters in all provinces.
In the closing session of the conference, Chairperson of Cottage and Small Industry Committee of FNCCI, DB Basnet, and Chairperson of Women Entrepreneurship Development Committee, Reeta Simha, committed to carrying on with initiatives and advocacy to connect the products of small cottage and SMEs with large industries operating within the country.