Politicians using entrepreneurs as milking cow: Industrialist Rajendra Khetan

The National Economy has been facing heavy toll due to ongoing political stalemate. Political interference, hassles created by political parties in the name of trade union, unscientific policies of the state have been contributing to create negative impact in the business sector. Many entrepreneurs have been forced to shift their investment due to these reasons. Mr. Rajendra Khetan has not only been contributing to the national economy through various enterprises but also contributed for the drafting of the new constitution as the member of the dissolved elections of the constituent assembly. In this context, Mr. Khetan talked about economic and political situation of the country with www.nepal24hours.com.

You are a renowned industrialist and also a member of the dissolved constituent assembly, so, how do you see the current situation of the country?
The situation of the country for last few years has been standstill. We have no progress either on Socio-Economy or Political front for last few years. Hopefully we will have elections but the question remains how will we short out key issues of state restructuring, power sharing and sharing of resources in the future Constitution and if the election is really required for the same.
For few years now in the name of regulators and government- politicians have been milking entrepreneurs to the extent that many entrepreneurs are shifting from industries to service sector and few even migrated.

What are the current challenges of the Economic Sector?
The current challenges are:
• Forceful and high handedness of politically appointed government officials to make their political masters HAPPY.
• Security threats and political disturbances.
• Lack of Electricity Supply
• Trade Unionism
• Increasing Cost of doing business hence loosing competitiveness

What could be done to give life to ailing economy of the country?
My recommendations for giving life to ailing economy of the country are as follows:
• Politicians should stop exploiting private sector
• Economic sector should not be bargaining tool for political use
• Let the system work not the purgative of officials or leaders
• Wages be linked with productivity
• Better & Friendly investment environment
• Explore the sector of comparative advantage

It seems there is unfair competition among the business houses of Nepal. Is it true if so what is the reason?

This is not very much true however such things are unavoidable too anywhere in the world. However Nepal is still better than many. In recent years Business community has been made unpopular by nexus of people who serves as “power brokers”. As the country’s politics is becoming polarized the need of power, money, and vote bank has increased and private sector is becoming best tool to be exploited. These Brokers have political umbrella giving access to government machinery, media and lawyers. Hence many businessmen have bow downed and gave them what they want. This is not a good sign.

The Banking sector of the country seems in trouble. As the chairperson of a leading commercial bank how do you see the situation and what could be done to avoid misfortune in the future?

The Banking sector is doing perfectly alright to the degree of 85%. However it is true that Development banks are losing their competitiveness and finance companies and saving cooperatives have become out dated. Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of the country, must be more vigilant and we need to regulate cooperatives immediately.

I recommend that we must start following institutions to see that Banking Sector is more prudent and supported by all arms and shoulders. A) Assets Management Company, B) Credit Rating Agency, C) By Law on Holding Company and Export Trading House D) Bridge Financing Agency, E) Industrial Financing Lead Agency and F) Infrastructure Bank etc.

As you also served as the member of the Constituent Assembly for four years but the CA failed to deliver the new constitution how do you feel about it?

Indeed I am equally responsible for not being able to deliver Constitution however as you know the fluid political scenario which limited all of us.

I am satisfied with my role as out of 11 thematic papers I intervened in 10 and my attendance was more than 85%. I served in 3 thematic committees and 3 Sub committees and among very few to make a thematic presentation of economy at the “Natural Resources, Economic empowerment and Revenue Sharing” main committee.

The country is moving towards holding the election of the constituent assembly do you also plan to contest in the poll. If yes why? If no why?

I have not joined any political Party so far and when offered last time I denied it too. However I opted to serve as the CA member when given opportunity to be nominated by the Cabinet without holding political membership. This time I am not keen to join constitution Assembly however will help few friends to reach there and offer Nepal new constitution.

Do you think the new constituent assembly be able to deliver the new constitution as the political parties are yet to make consensus on some of the thorny issues of the constitution, which is the reason for not promulgating new constitution by dissolved CA?

I am not very optimistic but I wish we get a new constitution that will break thru all impunity the country suffered all these years. Basically the throne issues remain: a) State restructuring, B) Structure of Governance and sharing of power c) Marking and sharing economic resources and building autonomy between the states and central.

Do you have anything to share with the readers of www.nepal24hours.com?
Nepal offers as destination of one of the best opportunities as natural resources but we lacked in exploring it for the people with economic development. Let the Politics settle soon so that we all move forward in making a prosperous Nepal otherwise peace will not prevail. I am sure the days are not very far if we have some Leaders who can show their statesmanship.

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