With the global economy devastated by the corona virus, Pokhara, proposed by the Gandaki state government to be declared the tourist capital, has been hit hard. The tourism sector, which has billions of rupees invested by the people, has been devastated by the outbreak of the virus. In addition, every sector including industries and businesses operating in the entire Gandaki region has been completely affected. Therefore, the businessmen here are expecting relief in the forthcoming budget to be presented by the Government of Nepal.
With the corona virus epidemic affecting the entire industry and business, its impact on the economy and its resurgence has become a topic of interest and discussion for everyone at this time. With the federal, state and local levels focusing on budgeting with their annual policies and programs, the private sector, which has invested heavily in the state, is hopeful of programs with relief packages from the government.
Stating that the impact of corona virus has put investment at risk in the tourism sector, tourism entrepreneurs have demanded to bring programs including short-term, medium-term and long-term relief packages. Chairman of the Pokhara Tourism Council Chiranjeevi Pokharel says that special relief programs should be brought for the tourism sector which is considered as the main basis of economic prosperity of the Gandaki state government.
He said that the tourism entrepreneurs here have invested heavily in attracting targeted tourists on the eve of Gandaki State Government’s Internal Tourism Year, 2019 BS and Government of Nepal’s Nepal Tourism Year, 2020 BS. “Investment is at risk due to the sudden outbreak of the corona virus at a time when tourism entrepreneurs are investing heavily to achieve the government’s goal of attracting 2 million tourists by 2020,” he said. We have demanded that the time period should be maintained for a minimum of one to two years and that we should not have to pay compensation for this period.
Stating that the current situation is another challenge to protect the skilled workers working in the tourism sector, he said that the government should bring relief package programs to sustain them. Stating that the private sector was not satisfied with the recent policies and programs of the federal government, Pokharel expressed confidence that the demands raised by them would be addressed in the budget. He expects the demands of businessmen to be heard in the policies, programs and budget of the Gandaki state government.
A study has shown that the ongoing bandh has caused economic loss of Rs. 38.26 billion in Gandaki alone. Evaluating the serious damage done to the economy by Corona, Damu Adhikari, president of the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the upcoming budget should focus on building infrastructure and industrial business environment, including a special relief package for industry, commerce and tourism. He said that the government should take concrete steps for the development of a self-reliant economy based on an accurate analysis of the current situation.
He said that an environment should be created for the unemployed and those who have lost their jobs abroad. Stating that the policies and programs brought by the federal government have disappointed the private sector, he suggested that the loans should be extended in time and refinancing arrangements should be made.