Nepal Economic Digest (March 08, 2020)


March 8, 2020


Nepal Economic Digest (March 08, 2020)
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KATHMANDU: Economic Digest, a daily morning email digest, is basically a relatable summation of important business news from Nepal into easy-to-understand summaries.

Surgical masks run out in medicals

Birendranagar, the headquarters of Karnali State is reeling under the shortage of surgical masks, especially in medicals and pharmacies.

The shortage surfaced when local suppliers have supplied their stock of surgical masks to Kathmandu on higher prices given the possible outbreak of coronavirus in Nepal. Rana Bahadur Khadka, Chairperson of the Association of Pharmaceutical Association of Nepal Surkhet, stated that around 100 medical and surgical suppliers based in Surkhet are running out of surgical masks.

“Even the dealers do not have masks. Our stock is also clear”, he said, adding, “They are trying their best to import masks within a month. However, it is very hard to get”.

NRB allows banks to accept gold as deposits

The central bank of Nepal, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has permitted commercial banks to accept gold as an interest-earning deposit which is expected to inject more cash into the market as well as help the banks to maintain their obligation for liquid assets.

The NRB decided to formalize a provision that it had proposed in the Monetary Policy for FY 2019/20. With the enforcement of the provision, commercial banks can now consider at least 25 grams of gold as deposits and provide interest to their clients.

The maturity period of gold deposits will be a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years, according to the NRB.

Call 1137 to inform about black-marketeering of masks

The Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection Management has asked people to call 1137 to inform about the incidents of black-marketeering of masks.

General Director Netra Prasad Subedi urged the people, in general, to inform about such incidents through the toll-free number 1137 following reports of an artificial shortage of medical goods including masks and sanitizers in the market at a time when the coronavirus is fast-spreading.

Subedi further informed that if any firms or dealers are found selling masks at a high price by creating an artificial shortage, they will be charged up to Rs 300,000 and a case will be filed against them.

DRI directs 130 firms to show up within 7 days

The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has summoned 130 various companies and business firms to show up at the Department within seven days.

Issuing a public notice, the DRI ordered these companies to be present at the Department and clear the tax at the earliest. The DRI has filed a case against these companies on the charge of evading revenue worth around Rs 15 billion on time. The Department has been monitoring over 300 companies and business firms for the last few days.

Japan provides support water and sanitation facilities for schools

The Government of Japan has provided grant assistance of approximately NRs 51.7 million to Nepal.

Ambassador of Japan to Nepal Saigo Masamichi has signed a grant contract for the water and sanitation facilities construction and hygiene education intervention project for primary and secondary schools in Bardiya with Koizumi Satoshi, Executive Director, Good Neighbors Japan.

The main activities of this project are to construct and repair drinking water supply facilities, construct gender-friendly toilets, establish and strengthen a school WASH management committee, and provide menstrual hygiene management education, the statement said.

Govt limits export of foodstuff

As the risk of coronavirus is increasing, a possible food crisis may arise in the future. To tackle this possible situation the government has urged local authorities to limit the export of Nepali foodstuff and essential goods to other countries.

The provincial and local governments have been asked to ensure the smooth supply of foodstuff in their respective areas and to initiate public awareness measures against COVID-19.

The authorities fear that a food crisis-like situation could arise if neighboring countries impose a ban on the export of foodstuff to Nepal.

Coronavirus deprives nearly 300 million students of their schooling: UNESCO

Almost 300 million students worldwide faced weeks at home as authorities closed schools in more than a dozen countries in an attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, UNESCO said.

The coronavirus has spread from China to some 80 nations, infecting over 95,000 people and causing the deaths of more than 3,200. Italy shut all schools and universities on Thursday until at least March 15 and encouraged online teaching as it tried to slow the rate of contamination in Europe’s worst-hit country.

Lawmakers concerned over artificial shortage of medicines

Lawmakers have drawn the government’s attention to adopting necessary alertness to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection and to stop the artificial shortage of medicines

. Speaking during today’s zero hour of the House of Representatives, parliamentarians urged the government to make necessary arrangements of supply of daily essentials and surgical masks.

The raised serious concern over the artificial shortage of necessary items, including medicines in the market. Nepali Congress lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal urged the government to adopt alertness not to allow the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country.

(Compiled and prepared by Swastik Aryal and Nitish Lal Shrestha)

Nepal Economic Digest is a daily morning email digest, basically relatable summations of the most important business news, happenings from Nepal into easy-to-understand summaries. The Institute for Strategic and Socio-Economic Research (ISSR), Nepal’s independent think tank, and Khabarhub — Nepal popular news portal — have joined hands to disseminate news from Nepal in the form of Economic Digest.

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