By Prajwal Shrestha
The country’s revenue is based on taxes imposed on imports instead of excise duty on exportable products. As our exports are nominal, revenue from exports of the goods is also nominal. The Finance Ministry has encouraged revenue collection from imports of goods from foreign countries. The customs offices are given targets to meet the revenue collection through imports of goods, but the local industrialists are not getting any incentives on exports. As a result, imports of goods are many folds higher than the exports and always the country is facing trade deficit.
Just recently, a new report drew attention of this scribe that one local business group is trying to give Nepali brand to the Colours mobile made in China. The business group was claiming that if the government would introduce some encouragement package in assembling of the mobile locally, it could be able to introduce Nepal’s own brand and could occupy markets in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka among other countries. From the assembling industry, the Nepali people will get employment. Furthermore, we can import technology and empower local technicians with such technologies. As locally assembled products will be cheaper, the users will get the opportunity to enjoy such products at a low price. From export of the products, we can make profit as well. But the government has no plans to encourage local entrepreneurs.
Read another report that the Maruti Sujuki dealer here received the booking of above six hundred vehicles during the NADA Auto Exhibition. Accordingly, in the exhibition, the local dealer of the Datsun Redi-Go car received booking of above six hundred cars. So what, billions of rupees worth cars that we are going to import from India and the government, through tax, is going to collect billions of rupees. Furthermore, there will be additional thousands of cars in Kathmandu roads, which are already crowded with heavy traffic. Furthermore, the Nepal Oil Corporation will have to import more quantity of petrol to meet the demand of the additional cars. Already, there are one hundred fifty thousand private vehicles running in Kathmandu roads. If the government would develop a policy to launch assembling plant of such vehicles and produce spare parts needed for the vehicles by giving incentives to the local entrepreneurs, we could also say that we have our own product in the market. Sure, from doing so, we could train our own manpower, develop employment opportunity and support subsidiary industries as well.
For years, there are Safa Tempos in the Kathmandu roads. These Tempos were assembled in Nepal and it established success. If the government will give incentive to the private sectors, such tempos operating from battery would get encouraged. During the Indian economic embargo, we talked much about alternate energy but these days our leaders have stopped to talk about promotion of alternate energy, rather, we are increasing import of electricity from India contributing further to widen the trade deficit with India. Will the country run in such a manner? Will the economy become self-reliant in such a way?
Unless the government will formulate appropriate policy to strengthen our domestic economy, the country’s economy will continue to go down. The government leaders and policy makers should become serious on such issues of prime concern as a strong economy is the base of a sovereign and independent nation. Without a strong economy, one cannot think about strengthening sovereignty and independence of a nation.
To recall the past, during the Panchayat days, the government had introduced bonus policy to those who were in export business. Such a policy had encouraged local exporters and it had played a positive role to end deficit in the foreign trade.
The political leaders and policymakers should go through the Devine Counsels (Dibbya Upadesh) of King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great and King Mahendra’s efforts for strengthening the economy!
Adverse economic trend
By Prajwal Shrestha