As the country is engulfed by the second wave of COVID, an unprecedented crisis has developed in the private sector. Millions of people have lost their jobs as a result of month-long prohibition orders in most sections of the country.
After the prohibitory order was issued, many people returned to the village from Kathmandu. The majority of them are now unemployed. Even in Kathmandu, most industries and factories have come to a halt, and employees have been unable to report for work. When industrialists are unable to conduct business, they must struggle to pay their employees. The COVID wave has a significant impact on several industries, including tourism, transportation, and construction.
How many jobs have been lost?
There are no accurate figures on how many employment were lost as a result of COVID. The General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), a workers’ representative organisation, has declared that a prohibitory ban that began on April 29th has resulted in the loss of 3 million employment.
According to FNCCI President Binod Shrestha, the second wave has caused a major job issue. According to Shrestha, prior to the COVID outbreak in Nepal, 13.5 million people were working in the formal and informal sectors throughout the country. The informal sector provided 80 percent of the 13 million jobs.
‘During the previous lockdown, approximately 1.5 million individuals were laid off in both locations. Those who lost their employment as a result of the lockdown were progressively re-hired. However, the second wave of COVID took the jobs of 3 million individuals,’ he stated.
Today, the government will release the annual budget for fiscal year 2078/79. Entrepreneurs are waiting for the government to include private-sector relief initiatives in the budget.
Shrestha believes that the government should encourage self-employment by providing interest-free loans to Nepalis who have returned from abroad in the upcoming budget.
“Employment will increase if loans to set up industries are offered without interest or at up to 2% interest,” he stated. We proposed that the government assist persons who have lost their employment in becoming self-employed and running enterprises based on their capabilities.
Deepak Kafle, a spokesman for the labor ministry, said the new budget will include a strategy to re-employ those who had lost their employment owing to COVID.
According to Kafle, the Ministry of Labor has underlined the need of re-employing those who lost their jobs due to COVID and securing overseas employment. The new budget would provide loans to persons who have returned to Nepal from international employment to enable them to become self-employed based on their capabilities.
He stated that the budget would prioritize recovering existing jobs and developing new ones.
According to Chandra Dhakal, senior vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), if the budget includes the COVID vaccination, proper health services, and the rebirth of the private sector, employment will increase.
“Industry is to increase employment,” Dhakal stated. If the government proposes a budget to activate the private sector, the unemployment crisis will gradually improve.
Instead of claiming that the private sector just seeks relief, he asserted that it is vital to consider how much the private sector has helped the country’s economy.
Approximately 75% of the government’s revenue is generated by the private sector. If a budget that is friendly to the private sector is passed, the country’s economy will grow and employment will rise,’ he said.