Top Economic news for this week- 15th Falgun to 21th Falgun

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Falgun 22, 2072- This week's main events that provide insight into current Nepalese economic environment have been briefly presented below:

  • Finance Ministry has asked Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to repay loans, with the state-owned oil monopoly making profits amid falling international fuel prices. NOC has said it has cleared its loans taken from banks and institutions like Employment Provided Fund, Citizen Investment Trust, but it is yet to repay those taken from the government. Finance Secretary has asked NOC to repay Rs.12.64 billion loans as the government is facing revenue deficit because of the blockade to clear its dues.
  • Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has revised its inflation target upward by 1 percentage to 9.5 percent in its mid-term review of the monetary policy for Fiscal Year 2015/16.
  • Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel has said the government is preparing to build seven new industrial estates covering at least 1,000 bighas of land and for this a proposal has already moved ahead during the 57th annual general meeting of Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday. In addition to that, a feasibility study is being carried out for industrial zones in Motipur, Rupandehi. 
  • Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Chiranjibi Nepal has revealed that he has been facing pressure from institutions like World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to shorten the deadline provided to bank and financial institutions (BFIs) to meet the new paid-up capital. The revelation came in the wake of complaints from the bankers that the two-year deadline set by the central bank was too short.
  • The government has released more than Rs.22.78 billion in relief funding to the survivors of last April’s devastating earthquake and its aftershocks, including the search and rescue missions. While the government and non-government organizations were involved in relief distribution, the latter now urge the government to move ahead with the reconstruction works with hundreds of thousands of quake survivors desperately waiting for that.
  • Karnali zone in the Mid West that often faces food shortages has gone through a long spell of drought this year, raising fears of a famine unless help arrives. The region has not received rain since July. Hectares of arable land lay fallow as water sources are drying up. Crop production in Humla, Dolpa, Mugu, Kalikot, Jumla and Mugu districts has fallen by half, local authorities said. People are worried about an acute food shortage.
  • The government has a challenging task of spending around Rs.1.5 billion of development budgets every day to meet expenditure targets set in the budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16. According to Financial Comptroller General's Office (FCGO), the government has been able to spend only Rs.21.51 billion, or just 10.30 percent of development expenditure, by February 25.
  • The Cabinet has given a green signal for the Tourism Ministry proposal to extend the climbing permits of hundreds of mountaineers who had been forced to abandon their expeditions last year due to avalanches on the Himalaya triggered by the April 25 earthquake. The permits will be extended for two years.
  • Government agencies, including Inland Revenue Department (IRD), are still undecided on whether to levy taxes on Teliasonera's sale of Ncell to Axiata. It has already been two months since Teliasonera made the announcement. But IRD, the agency to determine tax amounts, has not been able to decide whether capital gains tax can be levied on the transaction.
  • India has reduced 40 percent of its financial aid to Nepal days after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's state visit, Indian Express reported". In the Union Budget presented Monday, the Centre allocated Rs.300 crore for aid to Nepal for 2016-17, a massive decline from last year's allocation of Rs.420 crore," the Indian Express writes.
  • Overseas employment recruiting agencies have threatened to renounce their company licence en masse to protest against what they call “unhelpful policies” introduced by the government. The agencies have further warned of fully stopping their regular services from next week in a move that could affect more than 1,000 service seekers each day.
  • Vehicle imports through the Birgunj customs point have dropped almost 50 percent as importers rerouted their shipments through Bhairahawa. After the border obstruction was lifted on February 5, a total of 573 vehicles worth Rs573 million have been imported through Birgunj as of Sunday. The customs office said it collected Rs.801 million in revenue over the period.
  • Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Paudel has said that achieving economic prosperity will be the main thrust of the upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2016/17. During the meeting of Revenue Advisory Committee held at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Thursday, Poudel said: "We need to rise above the traditional mindset and give emphasis to economic prosperity of the country."
  • Japan has pledged Rs 8.41 million rupees for the conservation of Patan Durbar Square which was badly damaged by the earthquake last year. The amount will be provided to Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust for procuring equipment necessary for the soaring, scaffolding and fencing of Krishna Mandir, Charnarayan Mandir, Bisheshwora Mandir and Manimandap Pati in the Durbar Square area. Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Masashi Ogawa and KVPT  Programme Director Rohit Ranjitkar signed an agreement for the grant on Wednesday.
  • The government has appointed Shivaraj Shrestha and Chintamani Shiwakoti as the deputy governors of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). The cabinet meeting held on Tuesday decided to appoint Shiwakoti and Shrestha as the deputy governors of the central bank after nearly two months since the posts fell vacant.
  • Nepal will have to buckle up and complete projects undertaken with financial assistance received under Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Programme within the stipulated five-year period as there won’t be any extension to the deadline, a senior MCC official has said.
  • Nepali migrant workers staying illegally in Malaysia will have to pay Rs.135,000 to legalize their status. According to the Rehiring and Allocation Integration Programme launched by the Malaysian government on February 15, a worker has to pay Rs.111,000 (4,185 ringgit) for registration, temporary pass, processing, fine and levy. Registration costs 800 ringgit, administrative service 400 ringgit, temporary labour approval 60 ringgit and processing 125 ringgit. There is a fine of 300 ringgit and an annual levy of 2,500 ringgit for those involved in service, production and construction. Illegal workers also have to pay for new Nepali passports and renewal of passports. It costs 620 ringgit for a worker to obtain a new passport and 310 ringgit to renew an existing passport, according to the Nepal Embassy in Malaysia.
  • Bajhang exported medicinal herbs worth Rs400 million in the last seven months. India and China are the major markets for the medicinal plants collected in the district. The herb yarsagumba, popularly known as Himalayan Viagra, is the top export. Bajhang shipped out 296 kg of yarsagumba valued at Rs390 million, the District Forest Office said. Yarsagumba fetches up to Rs1.3 million per kg. Similarly, 2,200 kg of pashbed, 200 kg of sugandhwal, 200 kg of bojo, 30 kg of kankadsilo, 40 kg of bhrigiraj and 41 kg of gujargano were exported from the district.
  • A market monitoring team led by Kathmandu Chief District Officer Ram Krishna Subedi on Friday conducted raid on Lomas Pharmaceuticals and Deurali Janta Pharmaceuticals and detained the proprietors for not complying with the rates of the medicines as fixed by government.
  • The government has initiated fresh efforts to import cooking gas from China. A three-member government team reached Beijing on Tuesday to explore the possibility of importing the fuel from the northern neighbour, according to Deepak Subedi, joint-secretary at the Supply Ministry. NOC had signed a framework agreement with Petro-China to import petroleum products after India imposed a trade embargo on Nepal on September 22, 2015, halting fuel supply. The government had decided to import at least 30 percent of Nepal’s fuel requirements from China, breaking a four-decade supply monopoly of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
  • Scores of businesses from Janakpur and Birgunj are on the verge of collapse as they struggle to recover from around six months of shut down during the Madhes protests. Projiochem Industries, situated in Bahuwari, Birgunj has not been able to resume its operation that was shut down soon after the protests in Madhes began.
  • The Nepse set a new record on Thursday closing above 1,300 points. Shares listed on the Nepal Stock Exchange rose due to the start of full-fledged paperless transactions and excess liquidity with banks, traders said.
  • Bangladeshi Minister for Information Hasanul Haq Inu has said that his government has forwarded proposal to Nepal for transmission of energy necessary for Bangladesh. At a program organized by the Reporters' Club Nepal here today, the visiting Bangladeshi Minister stressed on the need for both the countries to mount steps for exchange of energy.

"This summarized news has been written on the basis of news published on The Kathmandu Post and My Republica during the week"