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Lockdown must but could hurt economic activities: CNI President More

This situation could have been prevented if the government had been more aware and proactive in dealing with the virus: NCC IPP Shrestha

2021 Apr 28, 16:20, Kathmandu
President of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Satish More.

The meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Monday decided to extend the prohibitory order imposed in Kathmandu valley. Initially, the prohibitory order was only for a week starting from April 29 (Thursday) but the Cabinet decided to prolong it citing that one week was not sufficient to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

During the previous lockdown, we saw that a lot of people had to go through various hardships with many businesses shutting down and thousands of people losing their jobs. Will this current lockdown be imposed for only two weeks like what the government says now or will it be extended? And how will it impact Nepal’s economic activities?

“The government has imposed a prohibitory order in Kathmandu valley to curb the spread of the coronavirus but I feel business activities should be allowed to take place albeit with necessary safety measures,’ says Satish Kumar More, President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI).

He adds that certain businesses and offices like banks and financial institutions have been allowed to open but the problem is when there is no movement of people then economic activities are going to dwindle. “If we take health as the parameter then the lockdown is necessary but the question remains as to whether this alone will suffice,” More shares.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, Immediate Past President of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) states that the government shouldn’t have imposed a lockdown. “The main problem is that the government had become lackadaisical and did not bother to enforce strict protocols to curtail the infection rate,” he adds.

Shrestha mentions that from the time the first lockdown was lifted till date there have been several political rallies and protest programmes. “And there is no count to the number of other ceremonies and functions that have been held,” he says. “This situation could have been prevented if the government had been more aware and proactive in dealing with the virus.”

More too says that lockdown or prohibitory orders are not the only solution. “If the government had introduced strict health protocols and implemented them effectively then we wouldn’t be having a lockdown now,” he adds. He further states that the government should now start planning on how it can be ready with medical oxygen supplies and medicines because the situation could get worse. “There has to be a long-term plan to manage a crisis like this.”

Shrestha shares that Nepal should have looked at the situation in India and introduced other measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus because if we keep having lockdowns then the economy is going to collapse. “We have still not been able to recover from the previous lockdown and we already have another,” he adds.

There are many employees who are scared as they have seen many losing their jobs during the previous lockdown, according to Shrestha. “And the situation of the investors is also the same because people are scared of the government further extending the prohibitory order,” he mentions.

Meanwhile, More says that instead of always blaming the government people too should be more careful because at the end of the day it is about their health. “Yes, the economy will be hit but there is actually nothing much that we can do besides adopting such measures as saving lives is more important than anything else,” he adds.

However, Shrestha still believes that instead of a lockdown certain other restrictions could have been put into place gradually. “For instance, we could have restricted the movement of people across the border with India,” he shares. “Imposing lockdowns will definitely hurt the economy.”

President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries CNI Satish Kumar More Nepal Chamber of Commerce NCC
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