KATHMANDU: The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Bhairahawa is yet to come into full operation even after 20 years of its launch.
The SEZ was established in a bid to promote trade, create jobs, and replace imports. Businesspersons complained that the SEZ has not come in full operation for lack of infrastructures and hostile provisions in the SEZ Act.
SEZ authority, however, has said it would gradually solve the problems including development of infrastructures.
Initially, industries denied entering the SEZ due to the condition of exporting 80 per cent of products. The SEZ Act was later amended and the export percentage was lowered to 60, which still failed to attract industrialists.
They are now saying that the provision of 60 per cent export is still much and the land lease was quite expensive. During a virtual dialogue held by Society of Economic Journalists Nepal (SEJON) Thursday, the speakers stressed the need to wipe out the faults in policy.
Former vice-chair of the National Planning Commission, Shankar Sharma, expressed worry over the future of SEZ, saying it did not become functional despite the passage of two decades from its launch. He suggested easing the restrictive provisions.
Although the Act came into existence, there was no regulation, which too obstructed implementation. Similarly, former secretary Bimal Wagle viewed that unless infrastructural development including electricity supply was ensured, it would not entice businesspersons.
President of the industry committee at FNCCI, Bharat Raj Acharya, argued that the concept of SEZ itself has changed. The debates on SEZ so far were limited to mere development of industry with sheer lack of innovation and trade. Time has come to stress innovation and trade, he stressed.
Moreover, vice-president of the industry committee of Conference of Nepalese Industries, Rahul Agrawal, said they could not launch their products in the