FNCCI appeals to party leaders to end protests

- Madhav Dhungana, BHAIRAHAWA

Sep 10, 2015-

Strikes and bandas in the last one month have strangled the country’s struggling economy to the point of near collapse, the private sector said.

As the shutdown in the Tarai shows no signs of ending quickly, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) on Wednesday presented a five-point memorandum to the top leaders of the agitating Madhes-based parties asking them to end all such activities immediately.

FNCCI President Pashupati Murarka handed over the memorandum to Chairman Mahanta Thakur of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Chairman Upendra Yadav of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal, Chairman Rajendra Mahato of the Sadbhavana Party and Chairman Anil Kumar Jha of the Federal Sadbhavana Party.

The FNCCI’s memorandum has urged the top leaders to immediately withdraw the ongoing protests and strikes that have been hurting business and trade activities. The prolonged strikes have particularly hit daily wage earners.  

The association also asked the parties to ensure security and an enabling environment for doing business without hindrances in the country.

Meanwhile, addressing a programme organized by the Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Murarka said, “It is very unfortunate that the top leaders are not serious about ending the strikes that have been going on for months. The industrial and transport sectors have come to a grinding halt, and this has adversely affected economic activities.”

Murarka added, “We had expected the strikes to end soon, but the way the demonstrations and protests are being organized has terrorized the private sector.”

Murarka said that the political parties had not paid any attention to the requests of the private sector to immediately stop such activities.

According to a study entitled Economic Cost of General Strikes in Nepal conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) in December 2013, the average direct cost

of a general strike stands at Rs1.8 billion per day and Rs27 billion per year.

The apex body of the country’s business organizations warned that the violent activities in Nepal had sent a negative message in the international arena.

As a result, Nepal could face negative consequences like capital flight and a massive decline in domestic and foreign investments.

Responding to the private sector’s complaints, Mahato said that the FNCCI’s demand to immediately withdraw the protest programmes would not be fulfilled. “However, we can discuss how to take our protest to its logical conclusion,” Mahato said.

He urged the private sector to press the government to hold talks with the agitating parties to resolve the issue.

“The FNCCI should pressurize the government so that it becomes serious to resolve the issues as soon as possible,” Mahato said.

The FNCCI delegation also met with other agitating party leaders separately.

Raxaul market empty

RAXAUL: Prolonged strikes and intermittent curfews in Nepal’s Tarai belt have affected the livelihoods and businesses of people across the border in Raxaul, Bihar. Raxaul, a major shopping town for Nepalis, wears a deserted look as business activities have dried up due to strikes in the past month.

“I use to do business worth Rs100,000 daily but now it has dropped by 90 percent,” said Raj Kumar Gupta, a local apparel entrepreneur in Raxaul.

“The market is almost closed, there are no vehicles on the streets. I have lost my income of several days.”

Like Gupta, other traders have been affected by the strikes in Nepal. Merchants said that they had stocked up on goods for the upcoming Teej festival. “Traders will incur big losses it they fail to clear the massive stocks.”

“This is probably the first time that the Raxaul market has witnessed such a big crisis.” There are more than 1,000 shops in Raxaul targeted at Nepali customers. “Nearly 90 percent of my customers are Nepalis,” said Ajay Singh, another local businessman.

Published: 10-09-2015 08:20

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