Biz News Septermber 2015

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NBI Organises Conference 
National Banking Institute (NBI) organized a one-day conference on August 6 on Asset Liability Management, in Kathmandu. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the increasing gap between assets and liability management and mitigation of market risk. 

The conference was attended by representatives from banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, investment banks, MFIs and pension funds.   

The conference was facilitated by Rajinder Kumar, Chief General Manager, Dept of Banking Regulation, Reserve Bank of India; Ripujit Chaudhari, Head, Market Risk, ICICI Bank Ltd, and K Mohan Bhaktha, Executive Director, Weizmann Forex Ltd.

Bhuwan Kumar Dahal, Chief Executive Officer, Sanima Bank, and banking expert Parashuram K Chhetri participated in a panel discussion with the experts.

Interaction on Economic Provisions of Draft Constitution
Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat has said it’s necessary to review the draft constitution’s provisions for the allocation of rights over natural resources and allocation of revenue among the federal states to be formed. 

Dr Mahat, speaking at a programme organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), said the draft recognises the government, the private sector and cooperatives as the three pillars of the economy. 

Speaking at the same programme, CNI President Narendra Kumar Basnyat remarked that the constitution draft has failed to acknowledge the importance of a free market economy. 

Similarly, former finance minister Surendra Pandey urged the private sector not to fear the word 'socialism' mentioned in the draft constitution. “Government investment is needed to boost private sector investment,” he added.

Another former finance minister Barshaman Pun said the demands of the private sector should be addressed through the new constitution.

Six More Countries Interested for BIPPA with Nepal
Six more countries have expressed interest to sign the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with Nepal. China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Qatar have shown such interest, officials say. Nepal first entered into a BIPPA with France on May 2, 1983, followed by Germany  (October 20, 1986), United Kingdom (March 2, 1993), Mauritius (August 3, 1999), Finland (February 3, 2009) and India (October 21, 2011).

Work on BIPPA provisions with China, the UAE, Pakistan and Qatar was initiated some time ago. However, the preparation about work on an agreements with Bangladesh and Turkey are still in the early stages, said Yamkumari Khatiwada, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. We need to assess the investment potential from the interested economies before we agree to sign the agreement, she added.

Investment Commitment Falls by 50%
The total investment commitment made for the industrial sector in the last fiscal year has fallen significantly compared to that of FY 2013/14. There has been a fall of more than 50 percent in the last fiscal year.

According to the Department of Industry, a commitment of Rs 284 billion was made in the fiscal year 2013/14. It fell to Rs 132 billion in 2014/15. 

Though the government gives priority to agribusiness, construction and energy related sectors. Investors were more attracted towards tourism, mining and services.

Even after providing various incentives like tax exemption and import-subsidies, the government has not been able to attract investors to agribusiness. The government has also provided a credit rate at 6 per cent for agribusinesses.

Bartending Training for Quake Survivors
Cocktails & Dreams, School of Bar & Beverage Management, in association with KICOS Community, conducted a four-day bartending training session for students displaced by the recent earthquake. Twelve participants, including two foreigners took part in the programme held at Fire Flies volunteer hostel and De la Soul Restaurant and Bar, Thamel.

On the basis of an exam conducted by Greenline Pvt Ltd Durbarmarg, two students, Kiran Tamang and Thilen Dorje Lama, were awarded full scholarships for a three-month diploma in bartending. CEO of Cocktails & Dreams, Raj Kumar DC, handed over the letter of scholarship to the winners. 

‘ADS to Reduce Poverty to 5 % in 20 Years’
The government has approved the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS). A cabinet meeting in late July approved the ADS which was prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture Development in consultation with experts after six years of continuous efforts. The Asian Development Bank and 13 international donor agencies have assisted in the preparation of the ADS which will be implemented in the 2015/16. 

“Necessary infrastructure has to be prepared for the implementation of ADS. So, it will be implemented from the coming fiscal year,” said Shanker Sapkota assistant spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture Development.

The main objective of ADS is to reduce poverty related to food by up to five percent. "Once we implement ADS we aim to reduce poverty down to 16% in five years, down to 11 percent in 10 years and down to five percent in 20 years," added Sapkota.

Lalitpur’s Biggest Mobile Shop 
Lalitpur’s biggest multi-brand has opened its mobile showroom at Damkal Chowk, Pulchowk. Pulkit Bhimsariya, the authorized sales representative of Huawei brand in Nepal inaugurated the store.

Prime Store is established to provide mobiles and accessories from renowned brands, said the store. 

Trade Deficit up 9.5 Times
In the last fiscal year of 2014/15, the amount spent on importing goods and services has been more than the total government budget. Last year’s national budget was Rs 618.1 billion whereas the total import stood at Rs 801.21 billion. Due to its low spending capacity, the government however expects that only 84.55% or Rs 522.64 billion of the budget is likely to be spent in that fiscal year.

“At a time when the size of import is more than that of the national budget, the government should try to increase the production of the goods which could displace the import,” says Dr Shanker Sharma, senior economist and former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission. He also emphasizes on introducing easy rules and regulations to facilitate this. 

“The purchasing capacity of Nepalis has increased due to remittance. But capital creation and production in Nepal isn’t such that we can afford to spend a lot like this,” he says. 

Trade deficit, too, has been rising due to the ratcheting import. There was a trade deficit of Rs 716 billion in the last fiscal year. The export of goods and services stood at Rs 84.9 billion in the last fiscal year, informed Surya Sedhai, spokesperson for the Department of Customs.

Nepal exported goods and services worth Rs 90.28 billion in fiscal year 2013/14. This means export in last FY is almost 6 % less than that of previous FY (2013/14). Exports came to a halt for almost two months due to the April 25 earthquake which led to the increase in the trade deficit. 

Iron and steel, Airplanes and its parts, electric machinery equipment and their parts, sound recorders,  vehicles and their parts, gold and silver, Diamond and pearls, food items, medicine and fertilizers  were the most imported things in the last fiscal year, according to the Department.  

NBI Talk Programme on Korea's Devt Miracle
National Banking Institute (NBI) organised a talk programme on ‘Korean Economic Development’ on August 11. The programme was conducted in the presence of Korean Ambassador Choe Yong-Jin. According to a press release, CEOs of different banks and financial institutions were also present at the programme.

Ambassador Choe Yong-Jin highlighted many historical events in South Korea. He also discussed Korea’s economic development, religion, culture, the Korean economic crisis of 1997 and issues pertaining to Nepal-Korea relationship.

He also informed how a ‘CAN DO’ attitude of the Korean people helped build a prosperous nation in just 50 years. He also cited the devotion of the Korean people towards development activities, efficient, effective and strategic leadership as the main reasons for South Korea’s rapid economic progress.

Upendra Poudyal, President of Nepal Bankers’ Association and Director of NBI, stated that Nepal could learn many things from various development activities executed by South Korea, particularly in its financial sector. Similarly, CEO of NBI Sanjib Subba mentioned many activities from which Nepal could learn and execute to meet the rapid development process as South Korea. Subba also requested for assistance to establish joint venture banks.

British College Supports Orphanage 
The British College recently provided educational materials and a laptop to Supportive Self-Sustaining Orphan Home in Phutung, Kathmandu. The college said it will continue to support the orphanage in the future.

FNCCI for Implementation of National Building Code 
The Urban Development Committee under the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) organized a programme on August 3, urging the government to implement the Nepal National Building Code (NNBC) to reduce earthquake-related risks in the future. In the programme, stakeholders of the construction industry drew the government’s attention to the fact that though the code is in place, very little has been done to apply it. 

FNCCI President Pashupati Murarka said the government and the private sector should join hands to reduce disaster risks. Secretary General of the Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal (FCAN), Ram Sharan Deuja, too, stressed on the strict implementation of the building code.

Pangeni New NRB Spokesman
Trilochan Pangeni has been appointed the new spokesman for Nepal Rastriya Bank (NRB). Pangeni works as the executive director at the governor’s office. He is also the 4th highest ranking officer at the executive level at NRB. Pangeni has taken over the role as spokesman from Dr. Min Bahadur Shrestha.

CAN SofTech on September 3-6 
The 7th edition of CAN SofTech will be held in Kathmandu from September 3-6. Organized by the Computer Association of Nepal (CAN), the slogan for this year’s Subisu CAN SofTech 2015 is ‘Converging to E-Life’.  

President of CAN, Binod Dhakal said the fair will promote computer software in Nepal. According to CAN, world renowned domestic and foreign software, solution and services and media related companies will be participating at this year’s event.

Ncell 3G Network in 63 Districts
Ncell has expanded its third generation (3G) mobile service to Dipayal in Doti District. With the new addition the total number of districts with 3G Ncell coverage has reached 63. Chief technology officer of Ncell, Andras Pali said, "We have extended 3G services to 57 new Village Development Committees (VDCs) in the first seven months of 2015. In 25 of the VDCs, the expansion was done after the earthquake". Ncell plans to extend its 3G network to all 75 districts.

Ncell Rs 100 Recharge Bonus
Ncell has introduced a recharge bonus scheme for its pre-paid customers. Customers who recharge their mobile phones with Rs 100 twice a week can enjoy a free bonus of Rs 100. The scheme which started on August 9 will continue for 12 weeks from the date of operation. The received bonus will be valid for 5 days and can be used within the Ncell network for calls, SMS and internet. 

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