Nepal is rebuilding after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks.
This week on June 2nd a conference was held at the Hotel Annapurna in Kathmandu to discuss next steps.
Samriddhi - The Prosperity Foundation, organized Econ-ity... "Reviving Nepal's economy: The Role of Private Sector". The program was focused on the role of private sector in Nation Building after the earthquake.
The session was moderated by Professor Dr. Bishwambher Pyakuryal, Senior Economist. He talked about the constraints to Nepalese economic growth, and the role of the private sector in dealing with those issues. Further, he added that the loss estimates made by different parties thus far are not necessarily accurate, and therefore we need to be careful while devising monetary and fiscal policies to deal with the effects of the earthquake.
Other Panelists in the session were:
1. Anil Khesari Shah VP, Nepal Bankers' Association. Mr Shah talked about the contribution of private sector during and after the disaster. Government as well as private sector must coordinate and stand together to move ahead. He discussed about the central bank loan issue and how 2% won't be sustainable, and on building permitting for houses over 2 stories.
2. Hari Bhakta Sharma, VP Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI). Mr Sharma talked about how the Government should develop and announce their working public-private partnerships for reconstruction - perhaps 10 groups. The government alone cannot solve the reconstruction issues alone and must move with private sector. He also added that government should increase the cash flow in the economy, increase liquidity in the market by buying bonds (instead of selling them) and increase consumption.
3. Dr. Hemanta Dabadi, Samriddhi Foundation. Dr. Dabadi told about the assets loss and production loss. He added that this is not the best time for Nepal to build small houses; that the focus should be on building secure housing. He also said that insurance companies must increase the penetration in the market.
4. Kamlesh Kumar Agrawal, General Secretary, Nepal Chamber of Commerce NCC. Mr Agrawal discussed how the earthquake has caused damage to 50% of the GDP of the country, and the GDP growth will likely be reduced to 3-3.5% from the expected 5.5%. Mr. Agrawal then talked about the role of free trade in improving the trade deficit position. He talked about the need to promote exports.
5. Pashupati Murarka, Officiating President, FNCCI. Mr Murarka discussed the losses in the private sector after earthquake. The private sector financial loss has been at least Rs. 100 billion (approximately US$1 billion). Next he talked about financing the reconstruction phase. Finally he added that the banking, insurance, and entire private sector needs to coordinate their efforts with that of the government and the government needs to allow the private sector to make their contribution.
By Saujan Gyawali for Global Chamber Kathmandu