New technology could give small industries a new lease of life and help them be the backbone of the economy, according to experts.
"A marriage between new technology and small industries will ensure their sustainability and increase their contribution to the economy," said vice chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) Rabindra Kumar Shakya, during the 24th annual general meeting of the Federation of Nepalese Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI) here, today. "Otherwise, development of small industries will always be under question," he added.
Cottage and small industries should not be a leisure activity, said chief secretary Leela Mani Poudyal, on the occasion, adding that it has to inject young blood with skills to further develop the sector. "They have to develop themselves and compete with multinational companies for its long-term sustainability," he added.
The central bank is mulling on how to provide easy access to loans for the development of the sector, said Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada. "Easy and affordable access to finance will help boost the sector."
Once contributing around 11 per cent to the economy, the contribution of cottage and small industries has dropped to around 1.6 per cent at present, due to high operating costs, and lack of innovation, raw materials, skilled manpower and marketing chain.
The government is ready to help establish Handicraft Village, Gift House (Koseli Ghar) and industrial corridor, said finance minister Shankar Koirala, assuring entrepreneurs that the government will soon bring the Industrial Act through ordinance to help boost the sector.
"Though there was some confusion between the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Trade, the issue has been resolved," he said, adding that it will help in policy and procedural reforms. "The government is trying to create an investment friendly environment."
However, the private sector said that policy reforms alone cannot help develop the sector unless entrepreneurs feel secure. "Frequent attacks on entrepreneurs will demoralise the private sector rather than create an investment friendly environment."