Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nepal's per capita to reach $2,500

Nepal has projected a more than three-fold increase in gross national income (GNI) in the next one-and-a-half-decade.
Nepal, under its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has projected a per capita GNI of $2,500 by 2030 from the current $772, according to the national preliminary report on Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030, drafted by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
GNI measures income received by a country both domestically and from overseas, including the remittance earnings that migrant workers – living and working abroad – send back home. For many countries like Nepal, money coming in from remittances is an important source of national income, adding to their GNI.
The projection is also based on Nepal's plan to graduate to developing countries status by 2022 from the current least developed country (LDC) status, and middle income country status by 2030.
However, the government needs to invest – in the country – double of what it is investing currently and help grow the economy by 8 per cent every year, if it is to achieve the target of achieving almost four-fold income growth.
Raising the income level and eliminating absolute poverty is one of the key SDG targets, according to vice chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada. Though eliminating poverty is almost impossible, Nepal targets eliminating the under $1.5-per day absolute poverty, he said, adding that the population below the national poverty line could be brought down to 5 per cent in the next 15 years.
Ending absolute poverty in Nepal by 2030 is an ambitious target, particularly given the reversals caused by the recent devastating earthquakes. "In the next six months, the planning commission will calculate the cost and financing needs to achieve the SDGs goals, including poverty elimination and income growth," he said.
Currently, a quarter of the population – or some 24.8 per cent – in Nepal is under the absolute poverty line, according to NPC. The government will also start formulating budgets from the next fiscal year 2016-17, keeping in mind the need to meet the above targets.
"Resource generation from domestic and international sources, the implementation capacity and distribution mechanism have to be made robust," he added. "Rise in income and distribution along with social security are key to the SDGs."
The SDGs, a follow-up on MDGs that started from January 2016, is the blueprint of long-term development strategy with the socio-economic and environmental focus on 17 targets. "It also targets on increasing access, utility and quality of services," according to director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Suman Aryal.
The NPC has come up with long-term governance and rights-based visions to achieve the targets including ending all types of poverty, food security and sustainable agriculture development, quality education to all, gender equality, and women empowerment.
Among other priority areas are enhancing access to energy supply, change in consumption and production modality, fighting climate change and setting up effective, inclusive and accountable institutions for incorporating all in social upliftment.
The NPC has also developed indicators based on the country’s needs rather than adopting global indices. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – 2000-2015 – had set targets at low levels, and as a result, maximum targets had been met. Although the country has witnessed a remarkable change in the people’s living standards under MDGs, qualitative growth is still a far cry. Stating the maternal mortality rate was reduced to almost half to 415 per 100,000 live births during the MDG period, the SDG plans to ensure proper health service to all.
The SGDs will focus on generating employment opportunities, justifiable distribution of social security schemes, education system up to secondary level, agricultural productivity and health services in particular. Some other goals include reducing inequality within and among countries, making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
These goals, which have to be achieved by 2030, have potential to change the face of the country as they focus on bridging inequality of all forms, raising access to basic public services, ensuring access to justice and sustainable economic development.
The SGDs have considered infrastructure development as a fundamental factor for sustainable development and have targeted increasing hydropower generation capacity to 10,000-MW by 2030 from 818-MW in 2014. It has also envisaged increasing the industry’s share in the GDP to 25 per cent from 15 per cent in 2014.
Meanwhile, Nepal has also started advocating for easier access to technology through Technology Bank. Lately, developed countries have reduced aid for LDCs, while copyright and patent issues have made it utterly difficult for countries like Nepal to gain access to technologies available in the developed nations. "It calls for better coordination and cooperation between LDcs and developed countries, so that all the SDGs can be met within the deadline," he added.

What is GNI
According to the World Bank, GNI is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes – minus subsidies – not included in the valuation of output, plus the net receipts of primary income – compensation of employees and property income – from abroad.