Sunday, February 3, 2013

Economic growth may look down: Governor Dr Khatiwada

Delayed full-fledged budget due to eluding political consensus and poor performance of agriculture sector might pull the economic growth rate down, according to the central bank governor.
"The central bank had projected economic growth at 5.5 per cent expecting a full-fledged budget, ending of political deadlock, declaration of election and better performance of agriculture," said Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Dr Yubraj Khatiwada briefing a visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article IV team, here today.
However, the government could neither bring a full-fledged budget, nor could it declare election to end prolonged political transition, he said, adding that poor performance of agriculture has added more pressure on economic growth that is going to fall down from the central bank's projection.
Though, the country had witnessed the highest growth — after the Constituent Assembly election in 2008 — in the last fiscal year 2011-12 at 4.6 per cent, increasing political uncertainty, erratic monsoon and slower services activity due to ‘possible’ slowdown of remittance growth, coupled with spillover effects from declining growth in India is going to pull economic growth for the current fiscal year down to 3.8 per cent, the IMF has projected after its Article IV visit in November, 2012.
According to the data of Agriculture Ministry, the GDP growth will drop as paddy production has declined by 11.3 per cent in the fiscal year 2012-13. "The country produced 567,746 tonnes less rice compared to last fiscal year due to minimum rainfall and shortage of subsidised chemical fertilizers," it had said, adding that paddy output has dropped in 40 districts out of 75 and the land used for its production shrank by 7.2 per cent. "Similarly, maize output fell by 8.3 per cent to 1.99 million tonnes and millet by three per cent to 305,588 million tonnes in the current fiscal year."
The largest contributor to the GDP that is 33 per cent, agriculture production decrease will naturally bring the total economic growth down.
Likewise, the continued political uncertainty, a delayed budget and potentially weak private sector credit will also likely inhibit both investment and consumption," the IMF had earlier reported, adding, "Externally, outflows of migrant workers appear to have peaked but combined with a softening global outlook, remittance growth will slow, and in turn dampen some service sector activities and reduce the current account surplus in the coming."
However, the country has been able to maintain fiscal stability due to effective implementation of policy measures, though monetary instrument alone cannot propel economic activities, without joint efforts from all the sectors, the governor said, adding that the political stability and infrastructure are key to boost economic activities in the country.
Leader of IMF Staff Visit–Article IV Todd Schneider and Nepal representative of IMF Thomas Richardson on the occasion discussed 'Technical Assistance on Problem Bank Resolution Implementation Framework' with the higher officials of the central bank. They also discussed on IMF's assistance and future programmes for Nepal.


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