‘Focus on existing enterprises not start-ups’
DIMAPUR, JUNE 20: The Business Association of Nagas (BAN) has urged the Government of Nagaland to get its priorities right during this COVID-19 pandemic period by focusing on existing enterprises instead of start-ups and rehabilitating returnees.
“Since the pandemic started, a lot of focus has been on start-ups and rehabilitating returnees. State Government has to remember that existing businesses in the State are the main taxpayers and we employ thousands of people. Existing businesses that are struggling need to be rehabilitated first”, appealed BAN president Vitho Zao and general secretary Dr. Lanusangla Tzudir in an open letter to the Chief Minister of Nagaland.
Considering the pandemic induced lockdowns and restrictions, BAN urged the Government to ponder on the plight of businesses, especially businesses run by Nagas ~ who are mostly first generation businessmen.
“Many businesses are barely surviving ~ we have to pay rent, salaries and repay our loan EMIs. As businesses are generating very less profits to sustain themselves, we fear this tsunami of waves created by the pandemic will wash away the businesses we have toiled many years to build”, it said.
BAN reminded that the business community helps in revenue generation for the State through GST. Also, as State Government cannot provide employment to everyone, the business community is a major employer for people who can’t find Government jobs. “Therefore, a stable business community is an asset for any State”, it stated.
Asking the Government to give a thought to the Naga business community during these difficult times, BAN said some carefully thought out policies and measures may give the business community some much needed oxygen to survive this pandemic.
Citing financial assistance, BAN reminded that the apathy of banks in the State towards extending financial assistance (loans) citing previous NPAs is well known. “Genuine Naga entrepreneurs who need financial assistance to sustain their businesses and grow usually end up having a frustrating time visiting banks. Given the extra ordinary situation, the State Government has to discuss with banks in the State and device a modality to extend loans to genuine Naga entrepreneurs who pay regular taxes and file returns.”
BAN also wanted entrepreneur-friendly policies in the State. It said with a functional industrial policy non-existent in the State, doing business is not easy, as is evident from the State’s “ease of doing business” national rankings.
“Naga entrepreneurs today do not get much Government assistance – be it to start new ventures or scale up existing businesses. As we are mostly first generation business-persons some hand holding and support will be of great help”, it said.
The Association also wanted Government Departments to get their act together. “We do not expect State Government Departments to do big things and make big plans for us. The Government should make achievable and small plans in coordination with the business community. Smaller plans and goals are easier to achieve and can be measured. With the experience gained from them, the Government can make bigger plans.”
BAN also assured that it is always ready to discuss, share expertise and help the State Government to make decisions for the welfare of the business community.
(Page News Service)