News Digest: Economy & Development (30 September – 06 October, 2021)

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Money and Banking

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) started a research study on the possibility of enabling digital currency use across the country with the aim of minimizing the use of hard cash or paper notes. For the same, NRB has formed two panels to study the practices of digital currencies in countries including China, Singapore, Hong Kong and others.

The Public Procurement Monitoring Office (PPMO) has blacklisted seven construction companies citing their failure in completing the projects as per contract. PPMO took the decision as per section 65 of the Public Procurement Act, 2063 under which the 7 companies have been barred for a period of one to three years effective from 05 October. The companies that were blacklisted includes- MS Indo Engineering Project Corporation, Land Ring Construction Service, Bipin Vet Centre, Kashyapati Construction Service, Rachana Trade International, Ninlantha Construction Service and Suppliers and Adventure the Anand.

Business and Market

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has estimated a possible loss of Nrs. 1.5 billion (USD 12.58 billion) from the sale of fuel in the next 15 days based on the revised price list of 01 October. According to the new revision, NOC is to bear a loss of Nrs. 9.18 (USD 0.076), Nrs. 7.01 (USD 0.059) in per litre petrol and diesel. However, the state-owned corporation is also anticipated to earn profit of Nrs. 19.59 (USD 0.16), Nrs. 1.93 (USD 0.016), Nrs. 15.10 (USD 0.13) and Nrs. 511.88 (4.30) in kerosene, domestic air-fuel, external air-fuel and cooking gas cylinder, respectively.

According to the ‘Industrial Status Report’ published by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), industrial output/capacity across the country has increased by 64.8 percent during the last quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2020/21. The figure has increased by 8 percent as compared to the previous fiscal year (FY) 2019/20.

Tourism

A beautiful view of the tourist spot Mazhuwagadi, Khotang as seen from the helipad at Diktel Bazaar, the main business center of the district. Mazhuwagadi, which carries the historical significance of the Kiranti community, has recently become the choice of internal and external tourists. Photo: RSS

Nepal opened its border (at Raxual-Birgunj border) on 01 October for overland Indian tourists in over one and a half years since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. A cabinet meeting on 21 September had decided to allow cross-border tourism activities and trade following which Nepal had implanted a new travel protocol eliminating the seven-day quarantine requirement and resumed issuing on-arrival visas to all vaccinated foreign travelers.

Infrastructure

Internet service in most areas across the country including the Kathmandu Valley, Bharatpur, Butwal, Biratnagar, Dhankuta, Dharan, Taplejung and so on were affected after Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) decided to remove internet cables from utility poles used by internet service providers (ISPs). In response, representatives from Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), Federation of Computer Association Nepal (CAN Federation) and ISP have protested NEA’s move to remove internet cables.

Over 1,749 bigahs of land of ‘Nepal Government Railway’ has been encroached upon. The land which was designated for the construction of the Raxual-Amlekhgunj railway has been encroached by individuals and industries including houses, petrol pumps, warehouses, factories and industries along Parwanipur, Jeetpur and Simara region.

According to the Department of Roads (DoR), landslides and floods during this year has caused damage to roads and bridges worth Nrs. 3 billion (USD 25 million) in 227 different locations across the country. In comparison to the last fiscal year (FY) 2020/21, the damage has increased by Nrs. 1 billion (USD 8 million) from Nrs. 2 million (USD 16 million).

Share Market

Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) decreased by 55.93 points, 6.68 points and 41.84 points during the first three trading days of the week. Following the changes, the index was recorded at 2612.65 points on the third trading day. A total of 22.43 million shares of 232 companies was traded resulting in a turnover of Nrs. 10.72 billion (USD 89.95 million) during the same period.

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