News Digest Economy and Development (May 20 –26, 2021)

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Customs department releases foreign trade data

Department of customs revealed that Nepal’s export data for the first ten months of the current fiscal year has increased by 32.19 percent, amounting to NPR 108.47 billion as compared to NPR 82.64 billion in the corresponding period of previous fiscal year. Similarly, import of foreign goods worth NPR 1,254.11 billion has been made in the current fiscal year; which is an increment of 22.34 percent as compared to the preceding fiscal year. Trade deficit has also increased by 21.48 percent this year; as the share of imports and exports in foreign trade stood at 92.4 percent and 7.96 percent, respectively.

Fast track procedure introduced at custom offices

Customs Department has introduced a fast track procedure for import of various goods and commodities, essential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Under this procedure, medical equipment’s such as oxygen cylinders, concentrators and tanks, remdisivir, masks and other 20 items can be claimed for fast track clearance at custom offices, provided importers can declare their import as essential goods and show an evidence of their essential nature. The procedure also allows for import of medical items over the weekend, to facilitate the entry of essential equipment’s into the country.

Railway ordinance stipulates provision of security unit-

The railway ordinance as issued by the President stipulates a provision of dedicated security unit for rail operations. Issued on the recommendation of an 11-member Nepal Railway Board, the unit shall be responsible for developing and expanding railway service, while making it secure, regular, reliable, and effective. The ordinance also stipulates a provision of entering into an agreement with one or more foreign countries for cross-border rail services.

Nabil bank and NAMS sign a MoU-

Nabil bank and National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate the installation of an oxygen plant inside Bir hospital’s premises. The bank has mobilized NPR 80 million, which is expected to be used in the installation of the oxygen plant with a capacity of 50Nm3/H, that can fill around 150 cylinders of 40 litres per day.

NEPSE reaches record high index-

Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) reached a record high of 2823.06 points, with share turnover exceeding NPR 13 billion, setting new records in the history of Nepali stock market. Easement introduced by technology in online trading system and easy availability of credit and loans have been cited as the main reasons for growth in share market.

17 percent of tourism businesses permanently shut-

A survey conducted by Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) has revealed that around 17 percent of tourism enterprises in Nepal has permanently ceased to exist due to COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, 77 percent of tourism businesses has temporarily shut down; with 65 percent of employee’s who were dependent on tourism industry for their livelihood being left unemployed.

Pandemic limits KMCs infrastructure spending-

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) which had initiated 105 big and small development construction projects in the current fiscal year has only 50 projects being constructed in continuity. Works related to blacktopping, drainage management, street-lamp, and park construction have all been halted. While the metropolitan city had allocated NPR 3.95 billion for physical infrastructure, only 22 percent has been spent till date, showing a lag in capital spending.

Banks barred from purchasing shares of microfinance institution-

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has issued a unified directive banning commercial banks, development banks, and finance companies from buying shares of microfinance companies; further instructing them to sell previously bought shares by mid-December.

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