News Digest – Economy and Development (June 10 – 16, 2021)

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Provincial governments unveil their annual budget-

All seven provinces presented their annual budget for the next fiscal year 2078/79, with major emphasis on health care systems, vaccination drive and infrastructural development. The combined budgets of all provinces stand at NPR 262 billion, which is a smaller than the previous fiscal’s budget of NPR 264.20 billion. The value of Bagmati province has increased significantly in the upcoming fiscal as compared to other provinces.

The province-wise total budget, recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure for the coming fiscal year 2078/79 stands at:

ProvinceTotal Budget (in NPR billion)Recurrent Expenditure (in NPR billion)Capital Expenditure (in NPR billion)
132.4614.1615.05
233.7915.6318.58
Bagmati57.722629.70
Gandaki30.0313.0616.73
Lumbini40.9514.9321.17
Karnali36.5411.4921.65
Sudurpaschim30.3310.6617.65

Salt Trading Corporation’s monopoly to end-

The government has ended Salt Trading Corporation’s six-decade long monopoly over the trade of iodized salt in Nepal as its sole importer since 1963 under the Export and Import (Control) Act of 1957. The deregulation has removed the state-run company’s stranglehold on import, transportation, storage and distribution of salt alongside stimulating economic activity by eliminating restrictions for new businesses to enter the market, increasing competition, improving innovation and increasing (private) market growth.

Shankar Oxygen Gas to build Nepal’s first liquid oxygen plant-

Shankar Oxygen Gas, Nepal’s sole importers of liquid oxygen are preparing to build an oxygen plant in Bhairahawa to manufacture life-giving gas. The company which currently supplies liquid oxygens to hospitals including Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease and National Trauma Centre imports most of its liquid oxygen from India. Import of oxygen from India was temporarily halted (due to the deadly surge of coronavirus infections in India), disrupting the distribution of liquid oxygen in Nepal. Considering this, the company has proposed to build an oxygen plant, with a capacity of producing 60 tonnes (around 7,000 cylinders) per day.

Proposal for Nepal to graduate from LDC to be presented-

Nepal has met the criteria to graduate from the current status of Least Developed Country (LDC) to the status of a developing country with mid-level income. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has given the consent to get the final proposal endorsed at the upcoming General Assembly of the United Nations. Nepal was given the green light after meeting two among the three criteria- per capita income in Gross Domestic Product, human asset index and economic and environmental vulnerability index. Normally it requires three years for developing complementary plan of action for the transitional management following the endorsement of graduation decision. However, considering the disruptions brought in by the pandemic, UN has given Nepal the timeline of 2026 by adding to consecutive years to facilitate in the transition.  

NOC cuts jet fuel prices-

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has slashed the aviation turbine fuel price by a stooping 20 percent, as a much-needed respite for international airlines and international travelers, who were paying a hefty amount of money to buy flight tickets of airlines flying to and from Nepal. The new airline fuel price has been fixed at NPR 715 per kilolitre as compared to NPR 893 per kilolitre (before).

NEPSE index crosses 3,000 point-

With an increase of 42.5 points, Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) crossed the 3,000 points mark on June 14, with shares worth NPR 18.88 billion being traded, on the same day.

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