Young entrepreneurs voice concerns about ailing economy

Young entrepreneurs and established businesspeople in Province 1 on Friday raised concerns about how the federal government was exerting undue influence on the province’s economy.

They said that the provincial government has not met its target as all decisions are made from Kathmandu.

During an interaction titled “Coffee with the Post from Kathmandu” organized by Kantipur Media Group in Biratnagar, entrepreneurs said that the country’s economic situation is getting worse and worse.

“Biratnagar is known as an industrial center. But factories here are closing one by one, mainly due to unstable economic policies,” said Sanjeev Koirala, an entrepreneur.

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Participants said interest rates on loans are so high that investors are deterred.

“We have no idea in which direction the country’s economy is going,” said another participant.

Banks offer higher interest rates for fixed deposits. This makes business loans more expensive. Why would anyone in this situation invest in a company? There are higher returns on deposits than on an investment, startup entrepreneurs said.

As the Indian government imposes food export restrictions, the business of Nepal’s flour and rice mills has been affected, entrepreneurs said during the interaction.

Hemanta Agrawal, a member of the Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said the import ban on goods has already had a negative impact on business. “It is difficult to get raw materials on time. The ordered goods are not delivered on time. In addition to all these problems, the high cost of production has made our goods less competitive.”

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Due to Indian export restrictions, most flour and rice mills in Biratnagar are on the verge of closure.

Industrialists in Province 1 say manufacturers are going through many problems that are not being addressed by the federal and provincial governments.

“That’s because of the frequent changes in policies and programs as governments change. That doesn’t help industrial development,” the participants said.

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Aspiring entrepreneurs said foreign investors cannot be lured to the country at a time when there is no environment for investment.

The government is least concerned with attracting investment. Without investment, there are no jobs and young people are being forced to flee the country in droves, Agrawal said.

Participants also expressed their concerns about climate change. They said that agriculture was affected by the phenomenon.

Participants said that media coverage of economic issues is not enough.

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