NBF calls on govt to introduce provision on election of official trade union
KATHMANDU, Aug 18: Nepal Business Forum (NBF), a platform for public-private discourse chaired by Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai, has identified labor-related problem as the biggest threat to sustained economic and industrial growth in the country.
The announcement was made during the second meeting of NBF´s high-level business forum held in Kathmandu on Friday.
“Labor-related problems culminating from politically influenced trade unions and mobilization of trade unions as wings of political parties are root causes that are disturbing the industrial relations in the country,” said the NBF, which includes almost all ministers and government secretaries, FNCCI, most of the umbrella bodies in the private sector and vice chancellors of Tribhuvan and Kathmandu universities as members.
To arrest the situation, the government should introduce a provision that allows only one trade union in an industrial unit to operate as official trade union. “Such a trade union should be selected through election and the Ministry of Labor and Employment should devise mechanism to hold such election by mid-July 2013,” NBF has recommended, while urging the government to come up with a new labor law as soon as possible.
The NBF has also suggested that the government create a technology development fund to conduct research and development (R&D) activities for promotion of businesses of the private sector.
“Lack of works related to R&D, on one hand, has rendered Nepali industries with inferior technology and equipment, while, on the other, deteriorated competitive power of Nepali industries in the global market,” the NBF has said, urging the government to allocate a sum of Rs 10 million for creation of the fund
Although the Ministry of Industry has created technology development committee and allocated a budget of Rs 5 million for the purpose, the NBF has said the amount is “too little” to carry out works related to research and development.
“Only a bigger fund could ensure smooth execution of activities related to research and development,” NBF has said.
The NBF has also recommended that the government add garments to the list of exportable commodities in Nepal Trade Integration Strategy to get financial and technical assistance under the World Trade Organization´s provision on ´aid for trade´ and enhanced integrated framework.
The readymade garment industry, which used to be one of the biggest foreign currency earners until a decade ago, has suffered ever since the US government abolished the quota system for garments. Although the government has been extending cash incentive to exporters with the aim of promoting Nepal´s exports, such measures have failed to yield positive results for the garments sector.
“If the commodity is included in the trade integration strategy as recommended, it would lift the morale of investors, leading to improvement in investment climate and production techniques in the sector. This would give boost to industrial production, employment situation, exports and revenue,” said the NBF, which is supported by World Bank´s International Finance Corporation in partnership with UK government and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
The NBF, among others, has also recommended that the government make legal changes to facilitate foreign investment in the stock market and create an independent agency to regulate cooperatives operation in the country.