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NRB to unveil monetary policy today

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Rastra Bank is unveiling the Monetary Policy 2018-19 on Wednesday, introducing a provision whereby domestic commercial banks will be able to hedge against convertible foreign currency by borrowing from foreign banks.

The central regulatory and monetary authority has opened a borrowing facility from foreign banks to meet the credit requirement in the production and infrastructure sectors, according to central bank sources.

The Monetary Policy is expected to bring down the cash reserve ratio from six per cent of the current fiscal to five per cent, eyeing the liquidity scenario.

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The monetary policy for the next fiscal will also narrow down the weighted interest spread rate from five per cent. In the context of commercial banks not being able to meet the priority sector lending mainly in the agriculture sector, the monetary policy is likely to extend a year’s period for banks to meet the priority sector or productive sector lending provision.

The Financial Sector Development Strategy of the government has also envisioned narrowing down the weighted interest rate spread.

According to the sources, the monetary policy would ease the provision of margin lending due to the depression witnessed in the stock market.

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Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

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As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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