Falgun 15, 2072- Last week's main events that provide insight into current Nepalese economic environment have been briefly presented below:
- India will soon allow Nepal to use Vishakhapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh as well as permit it to use alternative transit route to Bangladesh for easing the country's third country trade, according to officials of Ministry of Commerce. The Letters of Exchange (LoEs) for the facilities will be inked during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's visit to India, according to ministry sources privy to the issue.
- Nepali rupee lost 48 paisa against US dollar this week as the Indian currency, with which rupee is pegged, lost value against the greenback. Gold price, however, remained unchanged this week.
- Inflation has climbed up to 12.1 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year 2015/16 against the Nepal Rastra Bank's target to contain it to below double digits. Unveiling the 'Current Macroeconomic and Financial Situation of Nepal Based on Six Months Data for current fiscal year' today, the central bank said that inflation as measured on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped to 12.1 percent in mid-January. The inflation was 6.8 percent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year 2014/15.
- Work to upgrade capacity of Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Sirsiya of Parsa has begun. The dry port, which came into operation a decade ago, has not been able to start full-fledged operation due to flaws in its design.
- Price of diesel and petrol fell by only 12.77 percent and 16.66 percent in Nepal between mid-January 2015 and mid-January 2016 despite 37.1 percent drop in price of crude oil in the international market during the period.
- The government on Monday decided to allow Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) bottlers to sell fully-filled LPG cylinders (14.1 kg). The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies overturned its earlier decision on half-filled cooking gas cylinders that was enforced after Indian blockade.
- The 'Make Nepal Green' campaign, which kick-started in Kathmandu on Monday, has secured key partnerships and support from both the private and public sector to spread and upscale initiatives to usher Nepal into green economy.
The government ended all sorts of fuel rationing from Monday.
Stating that supply of petroleum products from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is increasing with every passing day after the blockade was lifted, Ministry of Supplies (MoS), on Monday, took the decision to this effect. The decision means consumers will get diesel and petrol as per their demand. Similarly, LP gas bottlers will resume circulation of full cylinders (14.2 kg).
- Most of the bank and financial institutions (BFIs) are yet to resume their evening counters due to shortage of fuel and prolonged power cuts. Many BFIs are still shuttering their branch offices before 3 pm, reducing their normal banking services. BFIs have not been able to resume their extended hour services that they had been providing to clients.
- Managing Director of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) said they has been holding discussions with Indian company Reliance Petroleum for possible imports of petroleum products in a bid to diversify its sources. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is NOC’s sole supplier. The state-owned oil monopoly said it was receiving only 70 percent of the usual supply even though India had lifted the trade embargo two weeks ago.
- The advertising fraternity asked the government for a National Advertising Policy and for the advertising sector to be recognized as an industry. Speaking at a conference titled 'Spark, The next stage Growth' organized by Nepal Republic Media in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 19, the who's who of Nepal's advertising sector also concluded that unity amongst them would help the industry grow qualitatively as well.
- Lending by commercial banks has surged after the trade embargo by India was lifted, swelling by Rs.40 billion in the last one and a half months. India withdrew the embargo in the first week of February. According to the Nepal Bankers’ Association, total loans extended by commercial banks amounted to Rs50 billion during the period from the beginning until January 1. Lending by commercial banks reached Rs1.19 trillion.
- President of United States, Barack Obama signed a legislation that provides some Nepali products duty-free access to the American market this Wednesday. According to a statement posted on the website of the US embassy in Katmandu, the legislation authorizing special trade preferences for Nepal grants duty-free tariff benefits for up to 66 types of Nepali items, including certain carpets, headgear, shawls, scarves, and travel goods.
- Asian Development Bank (ADB), one of Nepal's key development partners, has asked the government to accelerate investment for reconstruction and other development programs in order to achieve its economic growth potential of 7 percent to 8 percent per annum in the medium term.
- On Monday, the Nepal Stock Exchange reached to 1291.81 and on Wednesday fell to 1279.90. However, Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) benchmark went up to close at 1,283.52 points on Thursday, the last trading day of the week.
- National Micro Entrepreneurs Federation Nepal (NMEFEN) and Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited (NUBL) have signed an agreement to provide access to finance for micro entrepreneurs. Issuing a statement, the two institutions have said that NUBL will provide collateral free loan of up to Rs. 300,000 to micro entrepreneurs promoted by Micro Enterprise Development Program (MEDEP) and Nepal government's Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation (MEDPA) program.
- Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel on Thursday directed the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) not to distribute bonus to its employees. The direction follows the attempt of NOC to distribute bonus among its employees illegally.
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it would be willing to expand annual lending to Nepal by 70 percent to $500 million from the current $300 million to support critical investments and reforms.
"This summarized news has been written on the basis of news published on The Kathmandu Post and My Republica during the week"