Shambhu Prasad Dahal
Shambhu Prasad Dahal is the President of Nepal Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), an umbrella body representing the country’s automobile dealers. He formerly served as the CEO of Sipradi Trading. Since 2016, he is retired from active duty but still holds the position of Director of Sipradi Trading at the policy level decision making. Dahal has also worked as Audit Manager at T.R. Chadha & Co. Chartered Accountants and held the position of Director of Corporate Finance & Corporate Affairs at Tara Management.
Today, Dahal is a recognised figure in the automobile business ecosystem. He is an avid yoga and meditation practitioner who implements these into his personal and professional life.
Avant Shrestha caught up with Shambhu Dahal at NADA head office to learn about his career, the Nepali auto industry, and the NADA Auto Show 2019. Excerpts:
You have held multiple active roles in major companies for decades and you are now in the ‘think’ of things. What is it like to be Shambhu Dahal?
Well, that’s a difficult question because personally I have never thought about that myself. However, I would like to think of myself as an ordinary, hardworking individual. A simple individual to better put it. I have had little interest in personal or materialistic gains. I have always believed and done and will continue to put my head down and work as hard and diligently as possible.
For example, I wake up every day at 3am and practice yoga and meditation. I have been practicing it for many years. And yoga and meditation has helped me put my mind at peace. I believe that when you have a peaceful mind and try to cut the negativity out from your life, both your personal life and your career start to blossom.
What is the current scenario of the auto industry?
Every industry has its ups and downs. The auto industry is no different. There is a period of upward cycle and a period of downward cycle.
When you look at the history of automobiles in Nepal, we have experienced hyper-growth in the past few decades and I believe this will continue. Just a few decades ago there were about 500 to 1,500 vehicles circulating within the entire industry. But just in this past one year a total of 28,000 vehicles got sold and these are all 4-wheelers.
Will automobile sales continue to grow or hit a roadblock?
I firmly believe that the auto-industry has the potential to grow. However, the hefty import duty imposed on imported vehicles is unnecessarily high. But as a business and the preference of the general public, this industry will continue to grow. It is primarily because there is high number of potential buyers and with the growing economic status of people, the demand for automobiles is growing as well.
I also believe that having access to proper transportation is a civic right, whether it is about owning one or using a public vehicle. As our physical infrastructures continues to improve, both private and public vehicles are a must and there will be a demand for newer automobiles and this will only contribute to the growth of the industry.
What is your opinion on Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicles are the future. When new technology is developed and it enters Nepal, it generally causes a stir and naturally people will be interested. But the performance of electric vehicles in Nepal depends on external factors. Nepal is one of the countries that imposes huge tax on imported cars. However, EVs are exempted from road taxes and import is relatively low. But in the end, today citizens in Nepal have spending power and it is customer choice that will determine the performance of electric vehicles in the country.
As President of NADA what are you key objectives?
As we all are aware NADA is the representative body of the automobile industry and the only national level organisation of automobile dealers. We take pride in ourselves as a platform to maintain communication as we are a coordinating platform.
The main objectives would be to advise and support key areas and within district level of automobile business associations for the development of the industry. This can be done by giving priorities to teamwork and focusing on addressing the challenges that the automobile industry is facing.
Lastly, I believe it is essential to build trust among the various agents including customers. There should be harmony between the government and automobile dealers so that the industry continues to grow.
Any key plans for the NADA Auto Show 2019?
NADA Auto Show is our flagship event and we never compromise on the standard of quality when it comes to hosting a grand event. There are thousands of visitors who come to the event every year and as a result, the expectations are always very high. Every year we try to improve on the performance of the previous year. However there are major challenges as well due to lack of space. Nevertheless we try to accommodate a number of brands both four wheelers and two wheelers, and our main goal is to showcase our quality.