Shekhar Golchha, a candidate for the post of senior vice president of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the upcoming annual general meeting on April 10 and 11, views that the local level election can open door to political stability and radical economic transformation in country.
Excerpt from an interview between Golchha and journalist Ranjit Dhamala.
There is a constitutional compulsion to hold election of all three levels by 2018 January 21. How do you view it?
I think it is very positive. More than 200 billion rupees, which is supposed to be used in development works, is stuck with government. After the completion of local level election, the stuck money will be utilized for carrying out development works, which will end the declining economic condition of country.
What are the possibilities of election?
There are two aspects of it, prospects of development and implementation of constitution. Unless the local level election is completed, the allocated budget will not reach from village to village. The local level election will open door to great many possibilities of development of country. Next, election of local level is mandatory for implementation of constitution and institutionalizing democracy.
What are the potentialities and challenges of economic condition of Nepal?
A golden era of radical economic transformation is on the rise now. If only Nepal becomes politically stable, in the coming 10 years Nepal will make a giant stride in all aspects of development. Many challenges related to development have been resolved. You can take changes that took place in energy sector for example.
Likewise, Acts such as labor acts, social security act, industrial enterprise act, SEJ act are pending. Several reforms in such acts have been made. But, one of the greatest challenges is political stability and infrastructure development. I believe it will be fixed soon because there may be differences in political views among leaders, but not in economical perspective.
If you become elected as the senior vice president, how will you organize, ethicize and commercialize the industrial sector?
I have registered candidacy for the senior vice president. If I am elected, I will team and help Bhawani Rana’s term become successful. Next, discussion over various acts related to commerce and industry in Nepal’s constitution are underway. I will strongly put forth the issues of private sector. I have been advocating this for the last five years.
Third, our secretariat must be transparent and accountable and last I will coordinate with different governmental, non-governmental and international bodies and initiate programs and projects for international investments and capacity building in the district level. What are the prospects of investment and financial security?There are a lot of possibilities. But we must first fix the obstacles and challenges seen in the private sectors. If these challenges are overcome, the prospects and chances for investment are bright. For example, Banks have raised interest rate from 7 percent to 13/14 percent. They raise it on weekly basis.
It has been said that Rastriya Bank created liquidity. What do you say?
Bank business is a protected one. Rastriya Bank has protected and monitored its business which obviously produces more profit. And profits should be intervened by the Bank. But I think it has not happened in Nepal.
What are your bases to win the election of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry?
I have seen three bases. First, I have been active in the Federation for more than a decade, and I have involved in Chamber campaign for more than two decades. I have always used my intelligence and work ability. Being myself a sincere stakeholder, I know the problems of entrepreneurs, which I believe I can solve.
Next, is my family background. My late father was in the adopt committee when the Federation started. There is at least one member from my family in the working committee of the Federation, and still no one from my family has taken the leadership of Federation. My family members have contributed a lot in the Cambers’ campaign. My family started the first ever industry in Nepal and till today have provided employment to 17 thousand people. Therefore, I think I should take the leadership of the Federation.
How is the relation between Nepal government and entrepreneurs?
We are the class who pay tax to the government, and perhaps 70 percent of employment opportunities have been created by private sector. Without participation of private sectors, no development of possible. Leadership from private investors and entrepreneurs is essential for development of a country.
But the way government sees businessmen is sometimes a little tough to bear. It is true that business is done for gaining profit. But the profits made in the business should be taken positively because we pay tax from the profit. If there is no profit, there is no further investment. Investment creates employment opportunities. What I mean is the profits made in business should be taken in a positive way. Cooperation between government and private sectors is a must.
Nepal’s enterprises have been displaced, business and industries have not made progress. What are the reasons behind it?
There was problem of energy, Acts and Regulations were not investment friendly, there was political liquidity and weak infrastructure. We sign treaties with WTO and other federations but we should have some serious thought over the merits and demerits we get the WTO in the future.
What are the reasons behind embezzlement of huge amount of money that was supposed to be used in development works?
We have 200 billion rupees which is a challenge itself. We can construct airport and railway using the money. But we have not been able to do so. It is because we lack proper management and political instability. The money should be used.
Anything you should say at the end?
I want say that a new era of development and economic transformation is coming in our country. We need a capable leadership who is a stakeholder and understands the issues of industry and commerce sector from cottage to large scale industries, and who can cooperate with government and participate in the opportunities of radical economic development.