NRB celebrates golden jubilee

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 27:

Crown Prince Paras today inaugurated the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) at a special function held by the central bank at its premises today. NRB turned 50 on Wednesday.

Speaking on the first day of the Golden Jubilee celebration year, governor of NRB, Bijay Nath Bhattarai highlighted the trail of expansion of financial institutions in the country. Bhattarai informed that currently there are 17 commercial banks, 29 development banks, five regional rural development banks, 59 finance companies, 20 cooperative institutions which have received permissions from NRB and 47 non-government institutions.

Following its membership to World Trade Organisation (WTO), Nepal is sure to face new challenges in the financial sector. Foreign banks can now open branches in Nepal as per commitments made by Nepal, while getting WTO membership in 2004, said Bhattarai. Under such a scenario, financial institutions in the country need to be competitive in order to survive, he suggested. “NRB is bent on making the country’s financial system more vibrant and effective by strengthening the monitoring system,” governor Bhattarai said. “The major hurdle in Nepal’s economic growth is the ‘excessive number of poor people’ in rural areas. Therefore, NRB is taking all measures to meet the challenge of poverty alleviation,” he said.

In the context of a deteriorating performance by the industrial sector, NRB is all set to introduce a new monetary and financial policy, informed Bhattarai. He also informed that congenial policies would be adopted to expedite the financial sector.

Finance minister Madhukar SJB Rana commented that the government is committed to strengthen institutional reforms, expedite public expenditure management and public services, restore financial discipline and expedite anti-corruption activities. He urged NRB to expand remittance collection thro-ugh banking channels.

Rana was of the opinion that a healthy, vibrant and disciplined financial sector is needed for a sound economy. NRB, being a central bank, has a greater role in making the financial sector reform which focuses on reform of Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL) and Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), more effective by strengthening all sections, the minister said. The minister urged all financial institutions to abide by the directives and prudential norms set forth by NRB to make the system stronger and more healthy.

Finance secretary Bhanu Prasad Acharya said that the central bank should strive to become more professional and render all monetary policies effective. Acharya stressed on the need to have better coordination between the central bank and the government.

Bhattarai also distributed awards to best financial institutions during the programme. Standard Chartered Bank Nepal Ltd secured first position among the commercial banks while Development Credit Bank Ltd secured the award for best performance among the development bank group. Annapurna Finance Company, Swabalamban Development Bank, Yak Money Changer and International Money Exchange were selected for awards in the category of finance, micro-finance institutions, moneychangers and remittances collection companies, respectively.