Baisakh 11, 2072- This week's main events that provide insight into current Nepalese economic environment have been briefly presented below:
- The process to release Nepal-bound goods, which have been stuck in Chinese border town of Khasa after the earthquake of April 25, last year, has begun finally. A 13-member team of Chinese officials, including chief of Khasa-based Chinese customs office, arrived at the Khasa-based warehouse earlier this week to release Nepal-bound goods. They started the process to release goods after holding two rounds of meetings with Nepali customs officials. The Tatopani border point has temporarily resumed. Over 200 containers with readymade clothes and shoes are ready to enter Nepal, said Tatopani Custom Office Chief Divyaraj Pokharel.
- The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) is already in debt to the tune of Rs40 billion, and with more projects in the pipeline, there are fears interest payments on its loans may exceed revenue. Caan is currently implementing three major projects upgradation of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), expansion of Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa into an international airport and construction of a new international airport in Pokhara.
- Shipping agents who deliver goods imported from countries other than India have waived off nearly Rs3 billion in detention and demurrage charges Nepali importers were subjected to pay for the period of the Indian embargo, according to Nepal Freight Forwarders’ Association (Neffa).
- Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket and Departmental Store, one of the largest marts in the country, has been making preparations to go public, said Min Bahadur Gurung, chairman and managing director. The main aim of going public is to share the company’s wealth with the people who have made it the success.
- Demand for gold imported through commercial banks has dried up in recent weeks, thanks to increasing flow of smuggled gold into the bullion market. Commercial banks have some 322 kg of gold in stock. And they are in no mood to place fresh import order unless their stock is clear, according to officials of Nepal Bankers' Association (NBA).
- Agriculture and Water Resources Committee (AWRC) of parliament has formed a sub-committee to monitor implementation of the energy crisis work plan unveiled on February 19. After assessing progress made in implementation of the work plan, the two-day meeting of AWRC, which ended on Sunday, concluded that the work plan was likely to remain in paper.
- The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have the right to veto any resolution passed by China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) through the joint venture company to be formed to build the West Seti Hydropower Project even though the Chinese company will have a majority stake in it.
- Last year's earthquakes, aftershocks and quake-induced landslides damaged up to 15 hydropower plants, reducing power generation for the national grid by 120.22 MW. This is 15 percent of the total installed capacity at the 49 power plants in the country.
- The government will begin setting up laboratories to test pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables in five more cities across the country within two months.
- Minister for Labor and Employment Deepak Bohara has ruled out the possibility of sending women for foreign jobs in the present situation. Addressing an interaction program on the guidelines relating to sending domestic help abroad, Minister Bohara said he would not allow sending women workers for foreign employment until their security was guaranteed.
- Meghauli Airport in Chitwan has been brought back online under the initiative of CG Hotels and Resorts that owns the luxury Taj Safari Resort Meghauli Serai.
- Factories in the Parsa-Bara Industrial Corridor are facing a growing shortage of workers as the trend of going abroad for employment has spread in the region. There are 1,200 factories in the industrial zone which require around 50,000 skilled and unskilled workers. However, many youths in the region are more inclined to go to India or the Gulf countries to work as the wages are higher there.
- Members of the parliament's Finance Committee have charged the finance minister and fellow members of parliament (MPs) of not seeming to be serious about discussing the budget for the next fiscal year after a meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning was delayed after a large chunk of MPs, the finance minister and other officials failed to make an appearance at the scheduled start.
- The government's delaying the allocation of resources to the Economic Rehabilitation Fund has frustrated industrialists and businessmen who say they were expecting the schemes under the fund to provide some relief to their businesses hit by the recent earthquakes and the Tarai turmoil.
- The balance of payment (BoP) hit a record high surplus of Rs 158.18 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, according to ‘Current Macroeconomic and Financial Situation of Nepal’ issued by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) based on eight months data of Fiscal Year 2015/16.
The price of some foods, including pulses, rice and edible oil, has increased in the retail market.
Compared to a month ago, the retail prices of some varieties of pulses have gone up by as much as Rs.25 per kg; the price of rice by Rs.4 per kg; and those of edible oil by as much as Rs.20 per liter.
- Factories producing handmade paper are making a comeback after being forced to remain out of the picture for more than a decade due to high production costs, shortage of raw materials, lack of manpower and the Maoist insurgency.
- The Energy Ministry is preparing to introduce a stringent law to eliminate the practice of holding hydropower project licences and delaying project development. The proposed new law is in line with the recently announced National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade Plan, and will supersede the ageing Electricity Act 1992.
- Traders have not be able to clear their shipments through Tatopani customs even though China has started allowing Nepal-bound cargo stuck at Khasa due to last year’s earthquake to pass as there are no banks where they can pay taxes and import duties.
- Though the spiral in prices is easing due to improvement in the supply system that was disrupted by the blockade imposed by India for nearly five months since mid-September, inflation is still at double digits. The government is still struggling to tame prices that started climbing rapidly after the tarai turmoil.
- The 132-KV Solu Corridor Transmission Line being constructed by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been mired in controversy. The dispute related to the process of selecting the contractor for the project has now reached the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament from the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Supreme Court.
- The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament on Friday launched investigation into a decision to award the contract to build Solu Corridor Transmission Line Project, directing all concerned to stop project's work until further notice.
- The government has formed a seven-member taskforce to study the interest rate structure of Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) amid complaints the MFIs have been charging exorbitant interest rates to borrowers.
- Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index climbed up 32.24 points this week to close at record high of 1,441.67 points on Thursday — the last trading day of the week.
- Of around 6,500 cooking gas depots in the Valley, only 1,700 have certified their shops as the deadline ended on Thursday. In March, the Department of Supply Management had issued a public notice asking the depots to mandatorily certify their shops. The move is aimed at ensuring effective monitoring of quantity and quality of cooking gas cylinders and tracking the details of cooking gas consumers.
"This summarized news has been written on the basis of news published on The Kathmandu Post and My Republica during the week"