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Nepal needs a major economic departure: Industry Minister Joshi

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Kathmandu, December 7, 2016: Stressing on the need to create more jobs within Nepal, Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi has said that Nepal needs a major departure for economic and industrial development.

Speaking at the Joint Review of Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MEDPA) and Micro Enterprise Development Program (MEDEP) in Kathmandu, Joshi said that the Ministry was committed to attracting Foreign Direct Investments, scale up industries, protect and promote Micro, Small and Medium scale enterprises, generate employment and create capital.

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For Nepal to be prosperous, it is important to generate employment within the country and reduce foreign employments, he said. “However, this doesn’t mean that we do not want our youths to choose foreign employment,” he clarified adding, “we rather want skilled human resources to go abroad as experts.”

Currently, Nepal has a working population of 48 per cent, and every year, 500,000 youths enter the job market.

Joshi stressed that Nepal needed to use its available resources optimally, produce quality products and market them nationally and internationally.

“MEDPA is important as it actively works to reduce poverty in hard to reach areas,” shared Yam Kumari Khatiwada, spokesperson at the Ministry of Industry (MoI), while presenting MEDPA’s progress review of the past six years. She added that the program was successful as it meticulously identified steps for developing entrepreneurship; resource generation, targeted beneficiaries and meeting market demands across local, national and international frontiers. MEDPA is currently working in 69 districts.

The combined efforts of MEDPA and MEDEP have helped increase per capita income by 343.8% from NRS. 17,605 to NRS. 78,133. The data further states that there currently are 115,014 micro entrepreneurs. Of it, 70% are women, 30% Dalit, 40% Indigenous groups and 40% Madheshi.

Khatiwada added that while much has been achieved, micro enterprise sector is plagued by some problems; high interest rates of commercial banks, lack of financial institutions in remote areas being the most. She further added that this was mostly because banks were reluctant because of low capital investments and higher administrative costs. Similarly, retention of micro entrepreneurs in their respective enterprises, sustainability of the Micro Enterprise Development Fund, capacity development of government agencies, and establishing market linkages are other problems of the micro enterprise sector.

Chairing the session, Shankar Prasad Koirala, secretary at the MoI appreciated the role of MEDPA in empowering women through micro enterprise development. Meanwhile, State Minister for Industry, Kanchan Chandra Bade said that the program was effective to create employment in rural areas and requested for continuity of the program.

Meanwhile, Sophie Kemkhadze, Deputy Country Director of the UNDP Nepal mentioned that the programmes by these organizations are successful to contribute towards the Government of Nepal’s goal to reduce poverty, Sustainable Development Goals and for Nepal’s goal to graduate from Least Developed Countries by 2022.

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Similarly, Ainsley Hemming, Head of Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy shared Australia is committed to contribute towards Nepal’s goal of poverty reduction and ensured that Australia will work closely with the Ministry of Industry to strengthen and institutionalize Micro Entrepreneurship Development in Nepal.

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