News Digest: Economy & Development (August 05 – 11, 2021)

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Finance Ministry and Nepal Rastra Bank-

Finance Minister, Janardan Sharma on August 10 while presenting the ‘Information on the Current Economic Situation of the Country’ in the House of Representatives (HoR) announced that the government would replace the budget of the current fiscal year introduced by the KP Sharma Oli government through an ordinance. During his speech, the minister also issued a fact paper on the current status of the national economy. The fact paper has prioritized the vaccination drive as the most important duty of the current government for which the government has separated NPR 5 billion to procure vaccines. Similarly, he also committed to control price hike, increase capital expenditure and accelerate the fiscal activities in the country.

Nepal Rastra Bank has announced that the much-awaited monetary policy will be made public in the Finance Committee of the HoR by this week. The central bank which was anticipated to present the policy by the first week of July has cited changes in the government and incomplete internal preparation as the reasons for the delay

Infrastructure, Aviation and Telecommunication-

Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB), the government agency responsible for construction and operation of the newly built Chobar Dry Port has announced that the dry port will be handed over to the private sector through a competitive bidding process. The board which has already prepared the operation modality of the inland container depot is currently preparing to set up necessary facilities including the installation of quarantine and security posts.

The Government of Nepal has asked its Indian counterpart to conduct flight inspection of the newly installed navigation and communication infrastructure at Bhairawaha International Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CIAA) has written a formal letter to the Airport Authority of India for flight calibration and flight test through a government-to-government deal after receiving a nod of approval during the informal discussions. Nepal had previously assigned a Thai government-owned company Aeronautical Radio of Thailand for the second package including supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management including meteorological equipment and other related services, however the company had failed in continuing works since early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering this, Nepal has approached its Southern neighbor for flight testing.

CIAA has also given the Chinese contractor for the Pokhara International Airport another year to complete the project in consideration of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project funded under a USD 215.96 million Chinese scheme had been running ahead of time and was anticipated to operate in early 2021, but the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns had impacted the procurement of materials and supplies to construction site; pushing the completion date further away.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has implemented the infrastructure sharing bylaw to lessen the financial burden for service providers and reduce costs as Nepal prepares for the rollout of 5G wireless service. The new bylaw is expected to allow service providers to share their sharable infrastructures; cutting costs for telecom operators, enhancing coverage and network quality and improving overall pricing. 

Energy and Hydro-

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is seeking to export 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the state of Punjab, India this year. The government agency had participated in an auction by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (in May 2021) to supply electricity to Punjab from July 2021 to October 2021. However, the authority is yet to receive a Letter of Intent from Punjab’s electricity utility body to start its export of power. After receiving the letter, the authority anticipated to transfer electricity via the Dhaklebar-Muzaffarpur 400 kilovolt (KV) interstate transmission line.

A cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on August 09 has decided to appoint Kul Man Ghising as the managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority. With the new appointment, the incumbent Hitendra Dev Shakya has been sent to the Water and Energy Commission as its secretary.

Share market-

Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) set a new record by increasing by 51.91 points to reach 3,161.56 points on Tuesday, 10 August (the third trading day of the week). A total of 33,535,213 units of shares worth NPR 17,846,147,279 of 225 companies were traded on the same day.

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