COVID-19 battered industry wishes for tax and interest payment waivers, sops in Nepal’s Budget

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KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada is scheduled to present Nepal’s annual budge for fiscal 2020-21 at 4 pm on Thursday.

The Economic Survey presented by the finance minister in the federal parliament on Wednesday paints a very grim picture of the economy. The COVID-19 crisis has pulled down Nepal’s macro economic indicators drastically.

GDP growth for the current fiscal is poised to dip to 2.3%. The government had estimated the economy would grow at 8.5%.

The crisis has hit the economy hard, with all major industries in a tailspin with job losses and payment defaults.

We spoke with a cross section of Industry to understand what they expected from Khatiwada’s budget.

Bhawani Rana, president, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry says the Budget should focus on protecting citizens from the Corona virus pandemic and reviving industry from the “COVID-19 shock.”

Shreejana Rana, president, Hotel Association of Nepal says tax concessions and Tourism Development Fund are urgently needed for the bleeding hospitality industry.

Umesh Prasad Singh, acting president of Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries counts subsidised electricity and rent as a major expectations from the budget.

Madan Lamsal, General Secretary of Media Society says the budget must announce subsidised loans and ensure sustainability of media houses and the staff they employ.

Film Director Dipendra Lama wants a special package of Financial sops for the film industry and more funding through the Film Development Board.

Given the state of the country’s finances, most industry insiders concede they are not very optimistic about the budget granting them their wish list. Most are looking at a challenging fiscal year ahead.



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