EEC-Nepal held sixth Annual General Meeting
VOL. 04, NO. 23, May 27, 2011 (Jestha 13, 2068)
European Economic Chamber of Trade, Commerce & Industry (EEC) - Nepal held its 6 th Annual General Meeting (AGM). A strong 64 member General Assembly under the leadership of Dibya Mani Rajbhandari at the AGM chalked out a policy to guide the chamber for another one year.
“We need to identify the products to increase our export to European Union. Of course, Nepal has trade surplus with EU and it is a largest trading partners,” said Rajbhandari addressing the meeting.
AGM is being held at a time when job creation opportunities & foreign direct investment and local investment require stable and peaceful environment that are far from reality in the country today. “It is in the interest of the country to make strong policy in broad consensus from the business communities, political parties, policy makers and all stakeholders. There can only be economic surge in the country if the policy is strong, manageable professionally and supported by the government and all major political parties,” said EEC-Nepal in its press release.
European Economic Chamber (EEC)-Nepal was established in 2005 to strengthen socio-economic ties between Nepal and the member states of the European Union. EEC-Nepal offers its services to companies, organizations, and associations especially in the field of business information and contacts in 27 Member States of the European Union.
“EEC-Nepal has been making its efforts to bring the business group together. By increasing trade, we want to reduce the level of poverty,” said Binayak Shaha, general secretary of EEC-Nepal.
As far as foreign exchange earning is concerned EU is Nepal’s largest trading block in terms of Investment, Trade, Tourism and provider of development aid.
Tourism Entrepreneurs against Strikes
Nepal’s Tourism entrepreneurs asked the government for a peaceful solution of disputes and avoid any more bandh in the country as the country has witnessed a repeated bandh — in last two weeks — during the Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
“Though we have urged political parties and other groups to avoid strike and bandhs during Nepal Tourism Year 2011, the trend of calling bandh has started since last two weeks,” said member of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 working committee Dhurba Narayan Shrestha.
Nineteen different parties had, earlier committed in written to avoid any strikes and bandha program during the tourism year.
According to Shrestha, as the bandha programme has been organised by a group, we are unable to confirm its affiliation and hold talks with them. “We have recently formed an Alliance for Bandh that will work against all such kind of strike and bandh,” he said, adding that the alliance is also being supported by Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“Alliance will arrange different programme to protest against bandh and pressure government to insure peace and security,” Shrestha said.
Tourist arrivals during April has increased by 34 per cent but it could drop in coming days, if the situation continues, he said.
“During this season, majorly of the Indian tourists visit Nepal,” he said, adding that Nepal Tourism Year 2011 has targeted to attract three lakh Indian tourists.
Nepal’s major tourist markets are India and China that registered overwhelming growth in the recent months. “Currently, we have a number of Indian airlines which has made Nepal must easy travel destination for the Indian tourist,” he said.
Jet Airlines, Kingfisher, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Indian Airlines, Spice Jet are the major flights from on Kathmandu-New Delhi route.
By this month end, we will also have Deccan Air added on the route, informed Shrestha.
Nepal Tourism Year 2011 committee has planned a lot for the promotion of Tourism Year but — according to the tourism entrepreneurs — it will affect the tourism industry, if the situation continues. Alliance for Bandh — an alliance formed to pressurise against bandh — is all prepared for another peace rally along with all the tourism entrepreneurs, and industrialist, if the bandh continues, he added.
Himchuli And Birgunj Finance To Merge
Himchuli Development Bank and Birgunj Finance Company have completed the process to merge. The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) gave the green light for their merger and their operation of national level development bank. Once the two companies formally announce their merger, their name will change to H & B Development Bank. This is the second instance of two independent financial institutions merging with each other. Earlier, Narayani and National Finance had merged to form Narayani National Finance. The recent merger attempts will open up possibilities of more merger in future, according to Bijaya Sarawagi, chair of Birgunj Finance. Birgunj Finance had 14 and Himchuli 9 branches. In total, the paid up capital of two institutions will reach Rs 900 million. Their total deposit is Rs 6 billion and total lending, too, is Rs 6 billion.
WFP Nepal Office To Shrink In Size
Due to budget cuts, the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Nepal is preparing to shrink its size and operation. This decision is said to have been taken after the office could not raise Rs 4.30 billion or nearly fifty percent of its budget in this year. Due to this budget cut, the WFP is preparing to remove its regional offices, cut down its staffs and reduce the use of helicopters in transporting food. The WFP officials have said that the office will substantially decrease its budget within six weeks. Its plan to feed 1.8 million people this year will be revised in the light of budget cuts as the office will now be able to serve only 1.2 million people.
Vehicles Stranded In Custom Office
Following the steep decline in demand, automobile dealers have stopped bringing the vehicles from the custom offices. Due to liquidity crunch, price rise and increasing interest rates, the market demand has come down substantially. As such, the dealers who have imported vehicles have stopped clearing custom dues by allowing their vehicles to remain in custom yards in border points. Over 200 such vehicles are stranded in Birgunj custom yards. “Some dealers have not cleared vehicle custom since last two months,” said Tanka Mani Sharma, director general of Department of Customs. Dealers need to pay up to 240 percent custom tax to clear their vehicles.
Once the custom due is cleared and vehicles imported to the market, the dealers would need to register them at the Department of Transportation within 15 days. According to Saurav Jyoti, president of Nepal Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), they are not in a position to clear the vehicles from customs at the moment. “We imported based on last year’s sales. New vehicles have arrived in the customs but we are unable to sale even the stocks,” he said, adding, “Budget increased custom duty on vehicles. Banks have also refused to finance them. Even if they finance, their interests have substantially increased. These things have dragged down the demand for vehicles.” Banks have increased their interest on auto loans to 14 to 16 percent. Dealers say that in recent months, the demand for four wheelers have dropped by 33 percent and two wheelers by 28 percent. Import of spare parts, too, have decreased by 11 percent.
Exports Pick Up By 7.4 Percent
Exports have marginally picked up in recent months. The latest data by Trade and Export Promotion Center indicate that exports have increased by 7.4 percent in the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to same period previous year. According to the center, products worth Rs 47.98 billion were exported during the period. Exports of ready made garments, and carpets increased this year.