Top Economic news for this week- 22th Falgun to 28th Falgun

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Falgun 29, 2072- This week's main events that provide insight into current Nepalese economic environment have been briefly presented below:

  • A plan to build 'passing zones' along the Betrawati-Ramche-Dhunche and Syaphrubeshi road to ease movement of large containers in narrow and winding road was devised in the last week of November 2015. Yet work on it has started.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Nepal have agreed to explore investment in the power and transport sectors. The US Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Regional Deputy Vice President for Compact Operations Fatema Sumar visited Nepal this week to advance development of an MCC compact with the Government of Nepal. During the year, MCC will conduct a comprehensive appraisal of specific project options within the power and transport sectors.
  • The Confederation of Nepalese Industries' (CNI's) 13th annual general meeting (AGM) concluded in Kathmandu on Friday, unanimously electing its senior vice-president Haribhakta Sharma as the new president. CNI's statute has a provision to make its senior vice-president unanimously as the new president.
  • The Nepali rupee gained Rs.2.22 against the US dollar this week as the Indian currency, with which he Nepali rupee is pegged, gained in value against the greenback. Gold prices increased by Rs.430 per 10 grams over the week.
  • Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the state oil monopoly, has issued a directive to all the petrol stations within the Kathmandu Valley to provide petroleum products from Sunday morning. The NOC issued the directive after widespread complaints by the public that the irregularities were rife in the distribution of the same in various petrol stations across the Valley.
  • The government is to formally request the Chinese government to provide soft loan for the construction of the Budhigandaki Hydro Power Project during the Prime Minister's forthcoming visit to the northern neighbor.  The Ministry of Energy is learnt to have already prepared a draft to this end and submitted it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The civil contractor of the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) has resumed work and has been close to meeting its daily quota of tunnel work in recent weeks. Changing its previous tendency of dillydallying without any definite reason and piling complaints one after another, Italian contractor Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna (CMC) has now accelerated its tunnel work, which is proceeding close to the daily requirement of 35 meters.
  • The government has started preparatory process for laying the groundwork for policy level management with a goal set on implementing the 'Energy Crisis Related Work Plan 2072'. The government announced the energy crisis related work plan during mid-February with objective to generate 10,000 megawatt of electricity in a decade and fully end the energy burden within the next two years. The Ministry of Energy has formed three various committees to proceed with the implementation phase of the work plan.
  • Officials of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will be arriving in Nepal on Saturday to discuss and help simplify the process of obtaining duty-free access for Nepali products to the United States. Though US President Barack Obama signed the Trade Preference Act, a legislation which also provides some Nepali products duty-free access to the US market on February 26, Nepali stakeholders say that it will be challenging for the domestic industry to actually benefit from the provision as the industry and its products will have to meet the standards set by the US first.
  • The sharing of water and its benefits after the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project between Nepal and India and putting a value to the benefits in the project’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) are the major issues that need to be agreed, experts and government officials say. Energy from the project that is to be developed jointly by India and Nepal will be divided equally as per bilateral treaties. However, the sharing the benefits and water from the reservoir like irrigation and flood control are yet to be agreed in terms of price and quantity.
  • Nepal’s remittance through overseas employment that has been contributing 24 percent to the GDP, has been hit hard after manpower firms put up the shutters. The problem cropped up after as many as 754 manpower companies closed down their businesses since the last four days protesting a recent police raid and Malaysia unofficially stopped hiring Nepali workers.
  • Himalaya Airlines’ first Airbus 320-214 landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Wednesday. The newly delivered airliner — with the registration number 9N-ALM — received a water cannon salute after landing. Himalaya Airlines is a Nepal-China joint venture airline company.
  • Qimiao Fan was appointed as the World Bank’s (WB) new Country Director for Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan on Monday. In his current role as the WB Country Director for Nepal, Fan will oversee implementation of the global lender’s Country Partnership Strategy for Nepal, including support for post-earthquake recovery, the bank said in a press release.
  • Following a sharp fall in the price of large cardamom this year, traders are likely to have their profits cut. Large cardamom traders were said to have made good money for the past three years due to a consistent rise in price.
  • Nepali travel delegation drew significant interest and queries from Singaporean in a three-day tourism mart held in Singapore on March 4-6. The Fair was organized by National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS). Nepal stall entertained more than 50,000 direct queries on tourism revival in the aftermath of April earthquake and energy crisis, according to a statement issued by NTB.
  • Nepal’s spending on oil imports plunged 55.4 percent in the first seven months of the fiscal year as the country was in the grip of an Indian embargo for four and a half months when fuel shipments were choked off. Revenue collection from fuel imports during the period also fell 47.7 percent, the Department of Customs (DoC) said.
  • People of Olangchungola in Taplejung which borders China have asked the government to seek Chinese assistance to construct roads and other infrastructure on Nepal side so that the frontier can be opened for formal trade. Nepal and China have agreed to develop the necessary infrastructure to open another seven border points including Olangchungola.
  • Traders have complained they have been forced to pay high detention charges to shipping lines as a result of delay in delivery of goods imported from third countries to Nepal from India’s Kolkata port due to unavailability of enough railway racks. They accused the Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR), the firm that handles railway freight to Nepal, of not making available enough racks.
  • Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has said preparations for Nepal International Trade Fair 2016 have reached the final stage.
  • FNCCI is organizing the fifth edition of the fair from March 17-21 in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. According to the organizer, the event will have 300 stalls showcasing a number of products from India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Bhutan and Taiwan. It will include 70 and 90 stalls of Indian and Chinese companies, respectively.
  • Japan has approved the usage of counterpart funds to the sum of Rs one hundred million for the implementation of the Project for Cooperative Farming, Small Irrigation and Transportation Subsidy on Fertilizers and Improved Seeds- Earthquake severely affected districts of Nepal. Japan government gave the approval based on a request made by the Government of Nepal.
  • The benchmark index at Nepal Stock Exchange Limited (NEPSE) went up by 11.49 points or 0.88% to close at 1318.03 points.  NEPSE index opened at 1306.81 points on Thursday and was seen in an upward trend.
  • The government has allowed Birat Petroleum to sell petrol at an arbitrary rate of Rs.130 per liter, although Nepal Oil Corporation's own rate across the country is Rs.99 per liter and fuel supplies are slowly returning to normal. Birat was on Thursday seen selling petrol openly at Rs.130 per liter through three petrol pumps. The company has been charging customers the higher rate on the ground that its petrol is of Euro-4 standard. However, officials of the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) say that Birat's petrol is of the same quality as that imported by state-owned NOC.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Thursday urged investors from the United States to invest in Nepal’s infrastructure sector, especially road. “So far, most of the investments in the infrastructure sector in Nepal have come from neighbouring countries. So I would like to invite investors from the US to invest here,” he said, inaugurating a session during the Inspire Nepal 2016 Business Forum and Expo.

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