Kathmandu, April 8
Experts have suggested the government to bring in stimulus package which is ‘heterogeneous’ in nature, boosts the morale of businesses and helps revive the economy from the ongoing turbulence triggered by the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic.
Though the government last week announced a relief package targeting those affected by the coronavirus and the government’s move to put the country under lockdown, the measures will only provide some immediate relief and the government should bring out a mega package covering all sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic and focused on reviving businesses and the economy, they said.
Shankar Sharma, former vice-chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC), opined that the recent relief package of the government seemed inadequate and failed to ensure confidence among businesses.
In such a context, the government should immediately plan and unveil the second phase of relief package to give hope to the sectors worst-hit by the coronavirus.
Firstly, the government should take care of the informal sector workers who have been most affected. “For workers in the informal sector, the government should first ensure enough availability of food stuffs till the lockdown is in place. After that, such workers should be ensured jobs. The Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP) can be best utilised in the present context to generate jobs for those working in the informal sector,” opined Sharma.
More than half of the economically active population in Nepal is believed to be involved in the informal economy, which is still expanding rapidly. Workers in the informal economy face multiple challenges, especially as they are beyond the regulation of the government. Consequently, such workers are subject to suffer the most and be deprived of many fundamental rights in crises situations.
In the formal sector, the government should further extend the time for businesses and individuals to clear taxes, bank loans and interests, which have currently been deferred to mid-July, as per Sharma. “Along with big businesses, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are reeling under the current crisis.
As SMEs are the real driving force of the economy, the government should not overlook them,” said Sharma.
Experts have also suggested the government, especially the central bank, to raise the size of refina