Nepal | January 16, 2021

Informal, salaried workers hit hard by COVID-19 in Kathmandu valley: Study

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Kathmandu, August 11

Nearly 29 per cent of the respondents interviewed by Kathmandu Metropolitan City in a survey on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Livelihood’ said their families were stressed due to the uncertain future facing them in the metropolis.

Families living in rented rooms or houses said they were on the verge of being evicted by their landlords as they could not afford to pay the monthly rents.

At least 81 per cent of the respondents said they were unable to pay the rents and meet daily expenses after economic activities came to a standstill and salary employees either got their pay slashed or were deprived of pay for months.

According to the survey finding, 75 per cent of the families had one or more members requiring regular medicine intake due to various ailments, especially diabetes or high blood pressure or both. Respondents of the survey said the lockdown and the measures taken by the government to subdue COV- ID-19 outbreak had badly hit their livelihood.

Around 77 per cent of the respondents, who had been working in the informal sector for more than five years now in Kathmandu, lived in rented rooms or houses.

“Nearly 56 per cent of them said they had to take loans to meet their daily expenses,” read the report.

More than 11 per cent of the respondents said they were planning to return to their home districts in case of the failure to find job after the situation limps back to normalcy, while 45 per cent were confident of finding job as per their skill and qualification.

According to KMC, the survey conducted by the Urban Planning Commission of the metropolis intended to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on the general public and informal sector workers to come up with results to cope with the problems. As many as 626 (35.7 per cent females and 64.3 per cent males) respondents aged above 18 years from all 32 wards of KMC were interviewed during the survey carried out in May and June.

Income source of 52.2 per cent of the respondents was salary, of 16.8 per cent was business, of 1.4 per cent was daily wage and that of 4.5 per cent was pension. As per the finding, 54.7 per cent of the respondents reported that the COVID-19 had fully impacted their income, while 25.3 per cent said their income had decreased by more than half. A total of 20 per cent of the respondents said there was a minor impact on their income. Most of the respondents spent their time by watching television, on social media and household works as they were rendered jobless.

Only 12.9 per cent, 12.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent devoted their time to study, online job and regular business or office work, respectively.

The respondents also reported problems in waste collection, study of their children and access to regular medical services from health facilities due to the lockdown.

Bearing in mind the COVID-19 crisis, KMC has decided to exempt all businesses from penalty on tax dues for fiscal 2019-2020.

KMC has also proposed to grant 75 per cent exemption to hotels and resorts on property tax for new fiscal 2020- 2021, on the condition that they settle the applicable tax of fiscal 2019-2020. The house owners, who offer at least one-month rent waiver to tenants, will enjoy 10 per cent exemption on annual rental tax for fiscal 2020-2021.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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