July 9, Biratnagar. Industrialists and workers of Morang have demanded the resignation of Finance Minister Janardan Sharma. The industrialists and workers who staged a protest on Thursday demanding protection of sanitary pads, vegetable oil and steel wire based MS wire demanded Sharma’s resignation.
Earlier, the industrialists had met Finance Minister Janardan Sharma and requested him to change the customs policy. Despite Sharma’s assurance, the agitation started on Thursday after the demand was not addressed. Chairman of the Morang Trade Association Navin Rijal said that the demand for the resignation of the Finance Minister was made after the demand was not addressed. Stating that the phased agitation has started from Thursday, he said that the strike will start from Sunday.
During his budget speech, Finance Minister Janardan Sharma announced that the 15 percent customs duty on sanitary pads has been reduced by 90 percent to 1.5 percent. The traders have complained that the customs duty on raw materials has been maintained at 7.5 percent even though it has been maintained at 1.5 percent. The steel industry is also in crisis due to the government’s policy.
The industrialists and workers have complained that the government has encouraged imports through the budget so that the indigenous industries producing vegetable oil cannot compete in the domestic market. Earlier, customs duty was levied at 10 percent on crude oil and 15 percent on refined oil.
After the government reduced the customs duty on refined oil to five percent in the fiscal year 2079-80 BS, the industrialists have complained that they have to face street struggle as the domestic industry is in a state of flux.
Kishor Dhamala, a labor leader, said that they have started agitation demanding immediate correction of the budget system as the new system of government has led to unemployment of workers. “If the government’s policy is to shut down industries, workers will lose their jobs,” he said.
Earlier, after the Morang Trade Association, Morang Industries Association, Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Province No. 1 and trade unions near Nepali Congress, UML, CPN-Maoist Center and CPN-S staged a protest, the Finance Minister had called the industrialists on June 10 and assured them to address the demand. However, the agitation started after the demand was not addressed, said Rijal.
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