Top Economic news for this week – 12th Baisakh to 17th Baisakh

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Baisakh 17, 2073- This week's main events that provide insight into current Nepalese economic environment have been briefly presented below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Transactions through electronic payment gateways have been projected to shoot up, with an increasing number of people preferring online payments for goods and services. Easy availability of high-speed mobile data has also helped boost electronic payment, according to stakeholders. Companies offering e-payment gateways follow a digital wallet-based business model facilitating swift transactions among businesses and customers. Nepal’s leading e-payment companies like eSewa and iPay have shot up the growth projections.
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamal Thapa, signed on the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change during the historic High-Level Signature Ceremony convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday. The Signature Ceremony was followed by two parallel sessions for national statements of the State Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), during which DPM Thapa delivered Nepal's national statement.
  • International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) are found to have been mounting pressure on the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to amend its newly-introduced procedures for mobilizing the non-government organizations in reconstruction and rehabilitation work. The INGOs have been lobbying to change the NRA guidelines as these don't allow them to work and spend their funds as per their own plans.
  • With water sources drying up in many parts of the country, people have been reeling under acute scarcity of drinking water. The Metrological Forecasting Division (MFD) under the Department of Hydrology and Metrology said that the ongoing dryness is the most severe in the last 30 years.
  • In addition to that, the prevailing hot and dry conditions have left farmers worried in western Tarai districts, as underground water sources started to dry up. Adding to their misery is irregular power cut. Furthermore, winter crops in Humla are dying out because of prolonged drought as they also have not received enough rainfall for the past several months and there has been a widespread crop failure in the district.
  • Major donors and Red Cross, the largest humanitarian partner—have renewed their support for reconstruction bid in Nepal as the country commemorated the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake.
  • Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday officially declared Bikram Sambat 2073 as Ghumphir Barsa, or travel year, urging domestic and international travellers to explore Nepal without hesitation.
  • Four aircraft, manufactured especially for Nepal, are ready to take off, an official at the Chinese aircraft manufacturing company at Harbin said. Chief Engineer of the aircraft manufacturing company, AVIC, Song Zhan said the final preparations have been done for that purpose. Song is also the designer of the aircraft meant for Nepal.
  • Money received by Nepal under technical assistance (TA) from development partners is mostly spent on paying fee of foreign consultants and purchasing luxury vehicles, according to officials of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).  They also said such spending is not transparent.
  • Government has decided to call on the president to summon budget session of the parliament from May 3. A cabinet meeting held at Singha Durbar on Tuesday decided to urge President Bidya Bhandari to call the House session from 11 am on May 3 after the parliament secretariat made such suggestion to the government. The newly promulgated constitution has made it mandatory for the government to unveil the budget by the end of May. Earlier, the the budget was unveiled around mid-July.
  • Team ‘Smart Nepali’ won the first prize at the two day International Space Apps Challenge (ISAC) hackathon organized on April 23 and 24 by ICIMOD and Alternative Energy Promotion Centre in collaboration with Young Innovations. ‘Smart Nepali’ left behind 62 participants to win the first prize. ISAC Kathmandu had a set of global and local challenges which were selected by the 63 participants themselves. Participants worked in 16 teams where 10 worked on global challenges and six on local challenges. ‘Smart Nepali’ chose to work on a prototype for early warning detection of landslides.
  • Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has proposed Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to hold a review meeting on Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline Project in the first week of May. Though Nepal and India had signed the agreement to build a 41-kilometer cross border oil pipeline in August last year, the project has not made any progress in the last eight months as both the countries have kept it in less priority. Government officials expect the review meeting will expedite construction of the pipeline project.
  • The government has sharply reduced the rental rate for factories inside special economic zones (sez) in a bid to attract industrialists to set up production lines inside the Bhairahawa Sez. Industry Secretary Surya Prasad Silwal informed the parliamentary Industry Committee on Tuesday that the Cabinet had decided to slash the monthly rent from Rs150 per square metre to Rs20.
  • Nepal and Bangladesh are scheduled to hold commerce secretary-level talks on May 11 and 12 where an agreement on providing easier market access to each other’s products and removal of trade barriers are expected to be signed.
  • Bank interest rates are going up in recent days after slumping to ultra-low levels for more than three years. The weighted interbank interest rate was below 1 percent until March. It started rising from the beginning of April and reached a three-year high of 5.16 percent on Sunday.
  • A meeting of the Investment Board Nepal on Wednesday has decided to select the Detail Project Report (DPR) proposals received from various bidders for solid waste management in Kathmandu Valley. The IBN meeting chaired by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli decided to accept the proposals of Compunication OY in association with Poiry Bioste and Organic Village (NepWaste) under Package-1 and to accept proposals by BVG India, Greenfield Waste Management Company and KRYSS International J/V (Clean Valley Company-CVC) under Package 2 and 3.
  • The Kushma Drinking Water Project has begun at Parbat district headquarters, Kushma, at the cost of Rs 38.28 million. The construction of new project was mooted when the previous one did not adequately supply water to the denizens of Kushma Bazaar. The official works of the project started from Wednesday. The new project will provide drinking water services to additional 2,050 households than the existing project beneficiaries.
  • Karnali Transport Entrepreneurs Association has enforced an indefinite strike along the Karnali Highway to protest the decision of an all-party meeting to allow the transportation firm, Chandan Nath Transport (CNT), operate its buses along the highway. Min Bahadur Thapa, the association’s chairman, on Wednesday claimed that CNT was awarded the operation permit even though it did not fulfill the legal procedures. The strike, Thapa said,
  • will not call off the strike unless the papers submitted by CNT to obtain the permit is investigated.
  • Many earthquake victims may have to wait longer to get government grant for lack of accounts at the banks chosen by the National Reconstruction Authority to deposit the money. 
  • Although the NRA expedited the process of signing agreement with victims in the 11 worst quake-affected districts for distributing the Rs 200,000 grant per household from April 25, it is uncertain when the victims would get the amount as most of them do not have accounts at the three banks appointed by the NRA to disburse the money.
  • Birgunj Customs Office has exceeded its monthly revenue target for the first time in six months in signs of improving trade through the Birgunj-Raxaul border point. According to the customs office, revenue collection for mid-March to Mid-April (Nepali month of Chaitra) stood at Rs7.31 billion, exceeding the target by four percent.
  • The Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) has signed an agreement with Department of Customs (DoC) to exchange information related to money laundering. The two departments joined hands to spearhead investigation into under-invoicing of imported goods that have given a boost to informal, inflicting loss to the country national economy.
  • Former Ncell CEO Erim Taylanlar could face prosecution after he failed to respond to a letter from the Large Taxpayer’s Office to present himself before the LTO. The wing under the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had issued a letter to the then chief executive officer of the telecom service provider on April 20, asking him to present the details of the recently concluded Ncell deal. The government will assess the capital gains tax in the divestment of Ncell by TeliaSonera to Axiata if TeliaSonera fails to self-declare its tax liability in the transaction by May 7, according to a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
  • The Government of Switzerland has agreed to provide a total of CHF 5.7 million (equivalent NPR. 598.5 million) to Government of Nepal (GoN) to support in its earthquake reconstruction efforts through Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project (DRILP) Phase III.
  • The Federation of Gas Entrepreneurs Association (FGEA) has submitted a 16-point memorandum to Minister for Supplies Ganesh Man Pun, suggesting a slew of measures to improve distribution of LP gas and control its black market.
  • Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index jumped 10.56 points this week to yet another high of 1,464.91 points on Thursday — the last trading day of the week.

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