Self-reliant in agriculture, pro-farmer policies and end to black marketing: Minister Bhatta

Reporters Club Event: “I will make sure to put an end to black marketing, and work towards the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubling our efforts,” said newly appointed Minister of Industry Commerce and Supplies Lekh Raj Bhatta. Speaking at a special interaction program organized earlier this week on Tuesday at the Reporters Club, Minister Bhatta stressed his commitment toward contributing to Nepal’s prosperity and growth.

“In three years we will also have a pipeline from China that will bring us fuel,” he said.

The recently appointed Council of Ministers (CoM) will be working with the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led objective and slogan of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”. Everything is inclusive in our vision and we are sticking to it”.

“If the citizens are not happy then the country will never be in the path to prosperity. The country needs to prosper for people to be happy. It correlates, and the only way out is our industries and businesses that need to flourish. We are trying to develop agriculture and tourism making them profitable, and in agriculture, we have plans to be self-sufficient, we are in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and plans have already been made in this regard”.

In the program officiated by the President of the Reporters Club and senior journalist Rishi Dhamala, the minister was questioned by the President regarding certain government-led industries that were not performing well. To this, the Minister replied that “every possible step was being taken to make them profit-making industries providing them with the support they need. We are in the process of making all the industries that are in operation by the GoN into a profit-generating enterprise.

Minister Bhatta also spoke on the need for private companies to have the right environment to work. He spoke on the necessity and the steps that were being taken to encourage private companies to expand generate investment, and employment.

“I am taking necessary initiatives to create an environment for private industries to flourish which is an important aspect of the economy. Laws and procedures are being formulated. Our ministry is working with speed, and this pace will continue to bring in results”.

The Minister said that the country was progressing, “the trade deficit is decreasing, and in the field of agriculture, we are moving toward becoming self-reliant. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture. We are also coordinating with other ministries to ensure a smooth supply of logistics, internal focus on the country’s commerce and partnering for trade with foreign countries”.

Minister Bhatta assured that his first duty leading the ministry is to create an environment that will be favorable and friendly for the industrialists. “We have to create an environment where access to internal and external capital can be attracted as major investments. Many ventures have taken a keen interest in investing in the country and are fascinated by the prospects Nepal has to offer”.

“Prospective Detailed Project Reports (DPR) were prepared for exploring new industrial avenues. We are going through continuous discussions, and making progress in getting access to ports, and border points that will facilitate the transfer of goods with minimal hassle”.

“We as per the directions of the PM are working for the aspirations of the people, we have active participation and the dreams of the people are our main objective towards fulfillment. We have set goals and targets that we will achieve in the coming years. I am also working with Minister Motilal Dugad to take things forward and I have met him a couple of times regarding ministerial work. It is early to comment on anything specific”.

Minister Bhatta spoke on the need to change the individual attitudes toward the government. “We are close to becoming self-reliant in agriculture. Vegetables are now being exported to India from Dadelhura, and Salyan. We have to let go of the mindset to say that nothing is happening. We are in the process of making our country self-reliant. Everyone needs to contribute at an individual level. If you have learned a skill or trade abroad, utilize that for the betterment of our country too, this will boost the economy to a great extent”.

Minister Bhatta also stated that he reared buffaloes in his house and that he never had to buy milk. “Everyone should be able to rear cows and buffaloes. If this can be done, we will be self-reliant in dairy products too”.

“Nepal is dependent on cement, electricity, fish, and meat and construction material. He said that iron ore deposits are found in Nepal and that it has been sent for quality testing to China. There are further plans to build a mining plant for iron ore” he said.

“Market monitoring is an essential function that will be seriously undertaken by his Ministry. There has to be a sincere discipline to comply with the laws. Every industry needs to make a positive contribution in any which way they can so that it enriches our nation further”.

“Our focus now is to regulate the open market to prevent irregularities and black marketeering. My tenure will be focused on contributing to the growth of the country’s GDP, alongside looking at the shortcomings and placing corrective measures”.

“Due to the increase in essential commodities, there was a decrease in production. The Onion season has begun so we need to concentrate on its production and become self-reliant. We are trying to build a mechanism accordingly with the farmers so that they get a fair share”.

“My ministry’s policies are going to be pro-farmer, and we are determined to give them a fair price. In the next three years if I am still serving the Ministry then the fuel pipeline from China will be a reality. We need to be collectively responsible for all the plans that are being implemented. The black market now will be careful since I have taken up my duties” he said.