Entrepreneurs today urged the government to create an investment friendly environment through the budget.
In a meeting with finance minister Shankar Koirala, entrepreneurs from various sectors asked him to bring programmes to boost the morale of entrepreneurs and create a conducive environment to operate industries. "Attracting new investments will remain a dream if industries continue to face problems," they said, adding that the government should announce incentive packages to boost the confidence of entrepreneurs.
"The budget should help promote the domestic carpet sector as it is facing tough competition from neighbouring country's carpet brand 'Indo-Nepal Carpet'," said Central Carpet Association of Nepal, asking the finance minister, who is also minister for commerce and supplies, and industry, to help the association register its trademark, and in labelling and image branding. "The budget should provide a tax break for five years, provide access to soft loan, promote sheep farming and help train skilled manpower."
Likewise, Nepal Sugar Manufacturers Association asked the minister to help make Nepal self-dependent in sugar manufacturing. "If the budget promotes sugar manufacturers, the country could substitute sugar imports," they claimed.
Nepal Jute Mills Association and Nepal Vegetable Ghee, Oil Manufacturers' Association, asked the finance minister to continue with the VAT and customs duty reduction to stop grey market. "The open border has fuelled imports of vegetable ghee and oil, and jute products through illegal channels making domestic industries unable to compete," they said, urging Koirala to subsidise electricity tariff to promote domestic industries.
Koirala, on the occasion, asked the entrepreneurs to come up with innovative suggestions to reverse the import-based economy to an export-based and productive economy. "The government will support industries based on local raw materials," he said, adding that entrepreneurs should focus on suggesting on policy change to benefit the economy rather than asking for tax incentives. "The government will help develop the private sector for employment generation and for poverty alleviation."
'Continue VAT refund'
KATHMANDU: Nepal Vegetable Ghee, Oil Manufacturers' Association has asked the government to continue with the VAT refund scheme for the survival of the industries. "Currently, some 16 vegetable ghee and oil manufacturers are in operation that has an investment of Rs 20 billion and provides direct employment to 8,000 people," according to the association that has been receiving 50 per cent VAT refund from the government. The duty difference in raw material import in India and Nepal has made survival of domestic vegetable ghee and oil manufacturers difficult, they said, adding that lower import duty of raw materials in India has threatened the existence of domestic industries that need to get incentives also to check illegal imports of vegetable ghee and oil from India.