Govt envisions rapid economic growth

Kathmandu, May 3

The government today presented its policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal at the Parliament with an aim to foster rapid development in the new fiscal and make 2019-20 the year of ‘fastest development growth’ in the country’s history.

Unveiled by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in the joint session of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly, the policies and programmes for the next fiscal emphasise on rigorous monitoring, capital formation, project development and execution and investment facilitation in a bid to sustain recent economic growth. The government targets double-digit economic growth within the next four years.

Based on the policies and programmes unveiled today, the government will formulate the budget for the next fiscal.

“The year 2018-19 has successfully laid the foundation for the country to achieve higher economic growth in the coming years. The government will give high priority to timely completion of projects, especially national pride projects, and ensure that development activities accelerate in coming years in close coordination with the private sector,” Bhandari said.

She said appropriate mechanisms would be put in place to ensure that projects were completed on time and the government would take legal action against those contractors failing to complete projects within the designated timeframe.

The government has set a target to complete the construction of Melamchi Water Supply and Gautam Buddha International Airport within 2019-20. It plans to complete the construction of Pokhara International Airport by 2021 and begin the construction of Nijgadh International Airport as early as possible.

The government has also announced to complete construction of projects such as Mid-Hill Highway, Fast Track and Postal Highway within the next four years. Construction of East-West Electric Railway will start within the next fiscal.

The government also plans to complete the construction of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project within the next fiscal and connect 456 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. The government also announced that construction of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline would be completed within the next fiscal.

Regarding big projects, the government will adopt policies to raise necessary capital for the project from the public itself.

Along with accelerating development works and enhancing the economy, the policies and programmes also envision to address structural bottlenecks of the economy, boost industrial production and productivity, generate employment opportunities and enhance export competitiveness to move towards a higher growth trajectory. The government will discourage import of luxury goods and products that are injurious to health and promote entrepreneurship.

The government has also announced to officially start ‘one-stop service’ facility for investors from May 15 to facilitate both domestic and foreign investors.

Acknowledging that poor industrial infrastructure and volatile interest rate are major bottlenecks while doing business, the government stated that necessary steps would be taken to make banking interest rates competitive and priority would be given to development of industrial infrastructure so that the cost of production in the manufacturing sector could be reduced.

The government announced to prioritise cement as one of the major exportable goods and focus on branding and promoting Nepali goods and services in the international market.

The government also announced to begin construction of industrial zones in all seven provinces in the next fiscal and establish industrial villages across all local levels within four years. To foster export-oriented industries, the government has said it will establish new Special Economic Zones and Cross-country Economic Zones.

By making the Prime Minister Employment Programme more effective, the government plans to create an additional five lakh jobs within the next fiscal.

The policies and programmes have also committed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and make Nepal a middle-income country by 2030.

To ensure that every Nepali has a bank account, the government stated that it would intensify the ‘Let’s Open Bank Account’ campaign to ensure that all financial transactions were made through the banking channel.

With effective implementation of the Social Security Programme, the government also announced to raise the amount of social security allowances for elderly people. The government also hinted that salaries of civil servants would be raised in the next fiscal.