The decision to ban vehicle imports has proven to be a prudent move, resulting in significant savings of Nu 5.3 billion in foreign reserves for the government. This measure, particularly targeting third-country imports, has alleviated pressure on convertible currency reserves, thereby strengthening our economic position.

While the import of certain vehicle types was permitted to mitigate the strain on convertible currency reserves, a complete cessation of vehicle imports could have yielded even greater savings. However, such a decision may not be sustainable in the long term; it  might only address the immediate symptoms rather than the root cause of the issue.

Indeed, our current policies raise questions about their efficacy and long-term viability. Are we merely addressing the symptoms by banning luxury car imports or imports from countries beyond India? The strain on Rupee reserves from vehicle imports, even from India, underscores the need for a comprehensive reevaluation of our economic policies.

Exploring alternative options, such as promoting electric vehicles to reduce fossil fuel dependence, presents a viable solution. However, this requires proactive government intervention to lift import bans and provide necessary support to dealers eager to introduce electric vehicles into the market.

The private sector, still reeling from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, awaits government intervention to jumpstart economic activities. Current policies, perceived as restrictive and stifling, have left many businesses feeling marginalised, earning the government the unwelcome moniker of a “ban” government within private sector circles.

With policies like import bans and construction moratoriums in place, the private sector’s confidence in the government’s commitment to economic growth is waning.

There is a prevailing sentiment that these policies are designed to stifle economic progress rather than foster it, raising concerns about the government’s vision for improving the economy.

Criticism of government policies extends beyond economic concerns, with disillusionment among the populace leading some to consider emigration as a viable solution.

However, such sentiments are detrimental to our collective future, highlighting the urgent need for the government to instill hope and confidence in its people.