Nepal’s economy showing signs of recovery, but challenges persist, FNCCI saysThe private sector said the government needs to invest in skill-oriented training and entrepreneurial education to make the country’s economy robust.
Nepal's apex private sector body has said the country’s economy is showing signs of recovery but still, challenges persist.
“In the past, Nepal’s economy had faced major setbacks due to factors like Maoist insurgency, load shedding, earthquakes, trade blockade and so on. For the first time, our economy suffered from the financial recession, prompting the government to impose import restrictions,” said Sekhar Golchha, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Golchha was addressing a workshop on the media's role in disseminating entrepreneurship education organised by the South Asia Leadership for Entrepreneurship-SALE Project, in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
“Still the private sector, a major contributor to the government’s revenue, is suffering. Challenges in the economy still persist,” said Golchha.
Gross foreign exchange reserves increased by 10 percent to Rs1,337.29 billion in mid-January 2023 from Rs1,215.80 billion in mid-July 2022.
Remittance inflows to Nepal jumped by a staggering 24.3 percent to Rs585.08 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year that ended mid-January.
The central bank said that the balance of payments (BOP) remained at a surplus of Rs97.10 billion in the review period as compared to a deficit of Rs241.23 billion in the same period of the previous year.
The private sector urged the government to promote entrepreneurship by bringing on board the younger generation.
They said several factors like a lack of clear definition for startups, loopholes in startup policies and a gap between academia, the private sector and the policy-making bodies have been hindering the growth of startups and new ventures in Nepal.
Chandra Prasad Dhakal, senior vice president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that the government needs to invest in skill-oriented training and entrepreneurial education to make the country’s economy robust.
“Many institutions have set up startup funds, but there’s no coordination among them,” said Dhakal. “If used well, this can be a milestone to prevent brain drain.”
The central bank said that the number of Nepali workers seeking approval for foreign employment increased 64.6 percent to 275,643 in the first six months of the current fiscal year. The number of Nepali workers (renew entry) taking approval for foreign employment increased by 9.5 percent to 142,548 in the review period.
In total, 418,191 Nepalis left the country in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
Prakash Sharma, the national project coordinator of the SALE project of the International Labour Organisation, highlighted an urgency for developing entrepreneurship among the youth.
“We must learn the lessons from the success of other countries in developing entrepreneurship,” said Sharma. “Entrepreneurship can prosper only if it’s developed as an ecosystem in Nepal.”
According to Sharma, media is a key medium to communicate the success story of the entrepreneurs to the youth.
According to Sishir Kumar Dhungana, former finance secretary, a collaboration between government, private sector and media is a must to promote entrepreneurship.
“The enthusiasm of youths has been excitedly directed towards entrepreneurship after the Covid-19,” said Dhungana. “If we use the right steps now, this can be a decisive moment to take the country’s economy to a next level.”
Ranjit Acharya, the chairperson of the startup and innovation committee at the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the gap in academia, private sector and regulatory body is making it difficult for entrepreneurs to transform their idea into businesses.
“I request the media to give major space to the idea of a startup rather than the persona of the founder,” said Acharya. “This will inspire the common men to come up with an idea-centric approach.”
The participants requested the media to critically analyse the fundamentals and credibility of the entrepreneur’s idea before creating hype.