Micro, small and medium enterprises boom

Kathmandu, October 1

(Published in Himalayan Times of October 02, 2016)

Many international investors may have shunned potential projects in the country due to the unfavourable business environment, but official data show cottage, small and medium enterprises have boomed in the last one decade.

The number of cottage, small and medium enterprises surged by a whopping 360.89 per cent to 320,000 by the end of last fiscal 2015-16, compared to 69,431 a decade back (fiscal 2005-06), according to the Department of Cottage and Small Industries (DoCSI).

The government’s effort to develop enterprises in the country through various policy interventions, the increasing number of returnee migrants with necessary skills and capital have been considered as the major cause for rapid growth of cottage, small and medium enterprises. Support extended by some big industries and corporate houses for the development of such enterprises have also fuelled the boom, say officials.

Cottage and Small Industry Offices (CSIOs), under DCSI, register firms having fixed capital worth Rs 100,000 to Rs 30 million in each district. As per DCSI, 80 per cent of the industries registered in the DCSI have fixed capital ranging between Rs 300,000 to Rs 600,000.

“The government has been offering various incentives to cottage and small industries. For example, the fiscal budget of this year has increased the allocation for the Women Entrepreneurship Fund from Rs 60 million to Rs 180 million,” said Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general of DCSI, noting that such enterprises are critical for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The recent trend of corporate houses offering support for development of small and medium enterprises has also helped the sector to dodge the general trend of sluggish growth. In December 2012, Chaudhary Foundation (CF) — a philanthropic arm of prominent corporate house Chaudhary Group — had signed a memorandum of understanding with Yunus Centre — an organisation promoted by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus — to support the people of remote Nepal in enterprises development.

CF, with support of Lions Club International, started working in the far-western region of the country. CF has been branding its enterprises development initiative as ‘social business’ which means businesses without profit and without owners. The profit from the business is reinvested to set up new industries to create more enterprises and more jobs in the rural parts of the country.

Likewise, Surya Nepal — another corporate house — has supported the locals of Mulpani, Kathmandu to set up potato chips factory.

A closer look at seemingly positive scenario of cottage, small and medium enterprises, however, reveals that their contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has not increased significantly.

As per Shyam Prasad Giri, president of Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), the reason for this is because numerous cottage, small and medium enterprises were registered simply to take benefit of the incentives provided by the government. “Moreover, many projects run by non-government organisations and international non-government organisations are shut down after the term of such projects concludes. Similarly, many register enterprises for the purpose of applying for a visa to a foreign country as a businessman.”

As per FNCSI, licence of only around 200,000 cottage and small medium enterprises are renewed upon expiry.

Nonetheless, government officials are upbeat about the potential of cottage, small and medium enterprises.

Yam Kumari Khatiwada, joint secretary at the Industrial Promotion Division under the Ministry of Industry, opined the government should introduce programmes that would encourage such small production-based enterprises to integrate with big-scale enterprises. “There is scope to even expand beyond the country, like neighbouring India, through already existing agreements like Nepal-India trade treaty, which has extended preferential relief in duty for products manufactured by small scale industries in Nepal.



Negative Stereotypical Image of Jumla

Rabindra Timsena

If something beautiful is depicted repeatedly in a negative way and accepted by the majority of people, the image of beautiful thing is also perceived negatively. The context is of Jumla, the rural mountainous district of Nepal and the way of frequent negative depiction about its geographical difficulty, poverty and educational level. No doubt that everything has it’s brighter and darker sides. As much more emphasis given to the darker side of Jumla, it was compelled to challenge with such negative stereotypical image. I myself also had such misunderstanding before reaching Jumla. But all the misunderstandings have been clarified during the 2-weeks Jumla visit. This may be one of the achievements of the Jumla visit. I got this opportunity while going Jumla for mentoring the projects that are going to be invested my Nepal Social Business.

In fact, Jumla is the district having full of natural beauty. Words are insufficient to explain Jumla. Providing breather of cool in the scorching heat is its specialty and changing color according to the season is its nature. To become white with snow in the winter, being changed into green in the summer and being colorless in fall season is its wonderful art.  There may be no any other place in the world that would represent Jumla. Jumla, located in the lap of Tila River attracts any of the tourists who reach there.

Chandannath and Bhairabnath Temple situated at the heart of Khalanga are the center of religious beliefs. These temples have not only the religious importance but tourism too. Karnali Technical School located at little bit Northern side of Khalanga is not only the temple of education for those who want to study technical education, but also the destination not to be missed by the tourists who reach Jumla. Also it has historical importance as Sinja valley, which is the origin of Nepali Language is also located in Jumla. Rare herb Yarsagumba is also available in Jumla. Local people, in season make their earnings selling Yarsagumba.

Jumla is the highest land where rice is produced. Rice of Jumli Marsi is very delicious and it is the choice of the people who go to Jumla. Local Simi Daal is also favorite dish of the people. Apple garden are the additional attraction for the tourists. Different varieties of apple are more delicious. It might be one of the reasons that sellers sell the apple brought from another place claiming that it was from Jumla. People are wondered seeing the walnuts in the tree as it is not produced everywhere out of that area. As an organic district, Jumla is able to serve organic food items to those people who reach there.

As different airlines schedule their flight to Jumla, it is not difficult to go to Jumla for those who have purchasing power. People from Jumla and the medium class tourist also have alternative of expensive air travel as the Karnali highway (Surkhet-Jumla) is almost black-tapped completely. Jumla which was considered as ‘rural’ because of geographical difficulty is also now having somehow semi-urban facilities regarding transportation. Now, people who can’t go Jumla even if they have interest can’t have reason to blame Jumla for its difficulty.

Lots of people lost their lives and physical property was also damaged due to war that was taken place in Khalanga. It was another stumble for Jumla to go ahead for development. But we can read in the face of people of Jumla that, Jumla is not regretting for its previous lose but going ahead taking lesson from this. Due to the geographical difficulty, sufficient infrastructure couldn’t be built in Jumla. Moreover, it was not taken care by the state. It is true that Jumla couldn’t compete with other place in the marathon of modern civilization because of the insufficiency of education, health care facility, communication, electricity, transportation, drinking water and so on.

Because of these reasons various national and international organizations have shown their presence in Jumla. It may be the matter of research whether the contribution of such organization is sufficient or not. But it is blamed to people of Jumla that they have become dependent because of that help from the organization. People of Jumla have tried to clarify this illusion and the situation is being improved than it was before. The initiative of Nepal Social Business for the positive social impact through applying business principle with financial sustainable manner has become a good contribution for this. The effort to do something for themselves by the people of Jumla will be fulfilled one day. People of Jumla are now much more aware that they should not be like a Kasturi who wanders all over the Jungle to know the source of the good smell, which comes from the body of itself. Now, Jumla itself and the negative stereotypical image is being changed.



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