Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has said that building an economy based on production is the main priority of the country.
“Our focus is to build a production-based economy. For this, we have to start the transformation of agriculture and it is connected to the industries. It supports the country to make it self-reliant and create job opportunities,” he said while addressing a pre-budget discussion organised by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Monday.
Stating that the country is spending billions of rupees for the import of agricultural products, he said that it was imperative to increase agricultural production to substitute imports and reduce widening trade deficit.
“The government is ready to provide all kinds of support, including amendment policy and acts for the promotion of manufacturing industries which produce goods with value addition and create employment,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that everyone should support the government for strengthening the country’s economy by optimum utilisation of available resources and potential labour forces.
Finance Minister Sharma said that the tradition of conflict between the private sector and the government over taxes should be brought to an end.
He said that the Ministry of Finance should end the tradition of forcing tax collection and the private sector asking for reduction. “The constant dispute between the government and the private sector over taxes must end,” he said. “There is some administrative hassle. It has to be addressed. We are ready to do this. Then comes foreign investment.”
He said that the government is preparing to attract foreign investment only in projects where it can repay the loan itself.
He also urged the private sector to make efforts to bring investment in the business sector.
Stating that long-term suggestions cannot be heard now that the budget preparation has reached the final stage, the Finance Minister requested to provide in written which industries would be self-reliant.
Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini said that the policy of the government was to expand the tax net instead of increasing rates.
“In the current budget, we will increase the tax net, not the tax rate. We need the help of the private sector in what can happen in those areas,” he said.
He said that the forthcoming budget would be private sector-friendly and aim at production enhancement.
He also said that there is no need to be confused about the current economic situation.
Stating that the contribution of the private sector to the economy is 70 per cent, he urged the private sector to invest in new sectors instead of being more dependent only with the government.
On the occasion, FNCCI President Shekhar Golchha said that foreign investment should be brought with the assurance of profit.
He said that the government should appeal for foreign investment through the budget as foreign investment would not come without ensuring profit.
He also said that the government considered revenue collection as the standard of success but did not pay attention to its utilisation and service and security properly.
Golchha emphasised the need to prioritise investment and service delivery instead of merely eyeing revenue.
Stating that the forthcoming budget should focus on infrastructure and foreign investment, he said that the one-sided decision of the government to increase interest rates would not be good for anyone.
He expressed concern over the government’s inability to make adequate capital expenditure.
He also said that the unannounced power cut by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had caused a lot of damage to the industries.
Source : TRN,