Kathmandu, November 13
Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada today directed Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to ensure access to finance at the local levels by mid-January.
Addressing a programme here today, Khatiwada said that access to banking services is necessary for the growth of local levels and has asked the central bank to make banks set up their branches in every local unit.
Of 753 local levels in the country, banks are yet to reach 14 local units.
“It is a shame that all local levels still do not have access to banks and banking services though the government is disbursing social security allowances and other budgets to the local level governments through the banking channel,” said Khatiwada.
Citing that even those banks that have gone to local levels are based at the centre of the unit, Khatiwada said that NRB should take such issues seriously and ensure that people across the country have access to banking and financial services.
As per Khatiwada, banks should set up branches in every local unit even if they might have to operate it at a loss for certain period.
Meanwhile, Khatiwada also questioned the unwillingness of banks to disburse adequate loan in the market. “Applications seeking loans have piled up at the banks and financial institutions, but the banks seem quite unwilling to disburse the loans. This will directly affect the industrial growth and the economic growth of the country,” said Khatiwada.
Informing that the Ministry of Finance has also sought the details of demand for loans, Khatiwada urged banks to prioritise rural areas and local levels while disbursing loans.
“Neither the government nor the banks should freeze money. Resources should be disbursed in the market to ensure expansion and enhancement of market activities,” added Khatiwada.
A version of this article appears in print on November 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.