Friday, December 2, 2011

Non-economic hurdles hit growth

Challenging security situation and continuing tensions between employers and employees hit the business and economic environment in the country, according to the entrepreneurs.
Introducing the programme as a platform to identify the root causes of conflict and possible solutions from among stakeholders, president of NBI Padma Jyoti said, welcoming the participants in the interaction organised by National Business Initiative (NBI) Nepal with support from International Alert here today.
Former finance secretary and economic advisor to the Prime Minister Rameshwor Prasad Khanal pointed out the need of professionalism among employers and employees, sound working environment, and transparency in doing business as perquisites for better industrial relations. He further stressed the need of third party interventions and mitigation to solve industrial problems.
Representatives of the business sector, trade unions, security providers, and international agencies took part in the discussion.
The facilitator of the programme Ranjit Acharya brought into attention the issues related to security and labour to further elaborate its impacts. Manish Kumar Agrawal of FNCCI pointed out the scarcity of qualified arbitrators and mediators as major challenges and urged all parties to adopt a rather long-term perspective to achieve mutual goals. He urged to link wages and benefits with productivity to increase incentives for high performance and establish a better working culture.
GEFONT president Bishnu Rimal and other trade union representatives urged all stakeholders to create a better understanding of joint objectives like stability and employment creation and to build trust instead of blaming each other. Private sector representatives stressed the effective implementation and adherence to policies by all concerned parties. They also highlighted the need to go beyond the symptoms and create solutions to the deeply rooted causes of conflict. Both private sector representatives and trade union leaders agreed that the effective implementation of their 11 point agreement would be a major step to improve industrial relations.
The second session began with a presentation of a representative of the privates sector which highlighted the business downturn due to the present state of insecurity in the country.
Superintendent of police Rabindra Prasad Sharma highlighted the security provisions made by the state and asked all the stakeholders to cooperate with national security force to improve the situation. During the floor discussion, the private sector representatives mentioned that they were willing to join hands with state security force to improve the security situation.
Economist Dr Chiranjibi Nepal warned that any delay in improving security provisions amplifies the likeliness of capital and business being moved abroad with the consequent risk of increasing numbers of unemployment, frustration, and further conflict.
“However, if the importance of the private sector is acknowledged and the business environment improved,” he said, adding that Nepal has enormous potential to achieve similar economic growth patterns of India and China.

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