News Digest – Economy and Development (May 6–12)

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Fear of virus in the Himalayas

Recovery of the country’s mountaineering sector has been plunged into uncertainty with aspiring climbers testing positive for COVID-19. Around 15 climbers were airlifted from Mt. Dhaulagiri to Kathmandu by a medical team of Nepali Army stationed at the base camp; leading expedition leaders to discuss the logistics for managing the respiratory illness.

Disaster Management and Communication Cell formed to rescue tourists

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has formed a Disaster Management and Communication Cell to coordinate and rescue tourists stuck across the country after the announcement of travel restrictions. The cell is anticipated to rescue tourists stranded at trekking routes, coordinate hotel quarantine, and monitor entry and exit of passengers coming to Nepal from India under the Nepal-India Air Bubble Agreement.

Entrepreneurs urge government to declare tourism as crisis-ridden

Tourism entrepreneurs have urged the government to declare the tourism industry as a crisis ridden one. The sector which had slowly opened its activities since last November has been shut due to the new prohibitory orders. Entrepreneurs currently anticipate not being able to pay back their bank loans within the prescribed time due disruptions in cash flow; fearing a complete collapse of their business.

High-level talks with India commences to ensure food supply

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) has initiated high-level talks with its Indian counterpart to ensure continuous food shipments in light of the recent prohibitory orders. As per the talks, both the countries have agreed to facilitate transportation and distribution of essentials and have ensured storage facilities to enlarge food reserves.

Food delivered to Simkot Airport in Humla from Nepalgunj and Surkhet. Due to the high incidence of corona infection, it has been decided to keep it in the hospital for a few days and take it to the food warehouse. Photo: RSS

Exorbitant price hike in household essentials

Domestic consumers have faced an exorbitant surge in grocery prices, with wholesale prices of edible oil, beans, legumes, sugar, eggs, and retail prices of vegetables increasing by almost two folds in the past one week. Consumer rights activists have cited the government’s inability to access data of goods delivered and in-stock, and the supply system run by the private sector as the reasons for the price hike.

Industry department urges revision in FDI threshold

A government committee has urged for a revision in the minimum threshold of NPR 50 million to improve the country’s foreign investment attractiveness. Citing it to be impractical to impose the same threshold level for all industries, the committee has urged the threshold to be revised sector-wise to better facilitate FDI inflows.

Online business survival at stake

E-commerce and online businesses which have been shut following the prohibitory orders, have requested the government to allow delivery of essentials and household items, as a way of sustaining their business/delivery service.

Chobhar and Rasuwagadhi dry port construction

The construction of Chobhar and Rasuwagadhi inland container depot have been moving in full swing, exempt from the lockdown which has immobilized rest of the country.

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