Newly appointed finance minister Shankar Koirala has shown concern on the current trend of trade-led economy.
"The government is committed to changing the current trend of trade-led economy to an manufacturing-led economy," he said, addressing the private sector here today.
"The current government will help the private sector in substituting imports and increasing exports to create a manufacturing-led economy," he said, asking the private sector to advise the government on how industries could be expanded. "The need, today, is to promote manufacturing, attracting more investment."
Addressing a gathering of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) representatives at separate programmes, Koirala — who is also commerce and supplies, and trade minister — said that the government will not backtrack from the liberal economic policy.
"The government has also started preparing for next fiscal year's budget in which most of the private sector's suggestions and recommendations could be incorporated," said the former bureaucrat, who has become finance minister in the interim election council.
The private sector, on the occasion, voiced serious concern on the lack of confidence in the private sector due to increasing insecurity, worsening investment climate, chronic power cuts and prolonged political transition.
"The government must increase public spending, solve the power crisis and ensure industrial security to create an investment friendly environment and propel the economy," said CNI president Narendra Basnyat.
Likewise, CNI vice president Hari Bhakta Sharma asked the government to bring a full-fledged budget on time for next fiscal year to keep economic momentum, though this government has been formed with a single agenda to hold a free and fair election.
FNCCI representatives asked the minister to focus on the economy too though its priority is to hold a free and fair election. "The government must help create a sustainable and competitive industrial environment, expedite national priority projects, and help rescue sick industries," they said, adding that the government must also concentrate on constructing transmission lines, promoting export-oriented industries with incentives, and drafting a new Labour Act that is industry-friendly.
The delayed budget and regular attacks on entrepreneurs and enterprises have discouraged investors, and regular power cuts have reduced and made production costlier, which have decreased the competitiveness of local industries, they said.
However, they welcomed the minister's commitment to bring a supplementary for the current fiscal year.
Speaking on the occasion, finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said that the Finance Ministry has been working in cooperation with the private sector and is always ready to help them. "The ministry is committed to implementing the suggestions of the private sector," he said, adding that bureaucrats are comparatively feeling less pressurised and are committed to performing better.