Nepal Today

Monday, May 13, 2013

FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVE CROSSES RS.474B MARK Kathmandu, 14 May:: The total foreign currency reserve has increased by 7.9 per cent to Rs 474.16 billion during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, according to the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), RSS reports/. Earlier, the foreign currency reserve was Rs 439.46 billion during the same period of the fiscal year 2068/069. Of the total reserve, the NRB owns Rs 387.56 billion which is 3.2 percent more than of the last fiscal year. Likewise, the reserve of Indian currency reached 64.52 billion with an increase by 6.8 percent against the same period of the last fiscal year. According to the NRB, the reserve of the foreign exchange is sufficient to import goods and service of 9.2 months. Similarly, the revenue mobilisation of the government during the review period has reached Rs 210.47 billion increasing by 22.3 per cent, thanks to rise in exports. The revenue mobilization was Rs 172.9 billion in the last fiscal year. Likewise, value added tax (VAT) revenue has reached Rs 60.64 billion increasing by 15.7 per cent as compared to the last fiscal year. During the review period, customs tax contributed Rs 41.64 billion which is more by nearly 39 percent than the review period of the last fiscal year. According to the central bank, the income tax revenue has also increased by 31.1 percent contributing a total of Rs 48.26 billion due to reform in income tax administration and positive impact of taxpayer education. Similarly, the excise duty revenue collection has reached Rs 26.19 billion during the review period contributing 20.5 percent increase than the same period of the last fiscal year. However, the non-tax revenue has deceased to Rs 23.82 billion in the review period against Rs 25.25 billion of the same period of the last fiscal year, according to the NRB. Nnnn INFLATION JUMPS Kathmandu, 14 May:: Despite low increment in salary and wages and money supply compared to last fiscal year’s same month, the mid-April of the current fiscal year, however, witnessed higher inflation failing the economic theory, The Himalayan Times reports.. “The year-on-year Consumer Price Index inflation increased by 9.5 per cent in the nine month compared to 7.5 per cent same period of a fiscal year ago,” said central bank’s report for the nine months of the current fiscal year. “The money supply — that is also one of the causes of inflation — increased by 8.3 per cent in mid-April compared to 13.5 per cent in the same months of the last fiscal year,” it said, adding that the year-on-year salary and wage rate index increased by 7.3 per cent compared to an increase of 21.3 per cent a year ago. But slowdown of both — salary and wages index and money supply — could not stop the inflation from looking up. “The salary index remained unchanged compared to an increase of 19.3 per cent in the same month of the previous year but wage rate index has, however, increased by 9.1 per cent compared to a rise of 21.8 per cent in the same month a year ago.” The indices of wages of agricultural labourers, construction labourers and industrial labourers increased by 12.2 per cent, 6.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively against an increase of 17.4 per cent, 23.1 per cent and 31.6 per cent, respectively in the same month of the last fiscal year, it added. The Nepal Rastra Bank attributed food and beverage group that posted an increase by 10.3 per cent against the 4.6 per cent in the same period last fiscal year for the rise in inflation. Likewise, price index of meat and fish sub-group — under the items of the food and beverage group — increased by higher rate of 16.2 per cent compared to an increase of sseight per cent in the same month of last fiscal year. “The price indices of cereals, grains and their products and legume varieties also increased by 13.5 per cent and 11.8 per cent against decrease by three per cent and one per cent in the same month of the last fiscal year,” the data revealed. The price index of education sub-group — within the group of non-food and services — increased by 12.5 per cent compared to an increase of 8.9 per cent in the same month of last fiscal year. “Similarly, the price index of communication, which had decreased by 7.1 per cent in the same month of the last fiscal year, witnessed a further decline of 0.8 per cent in the nine months,” the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) said, adding that region-wise, the price indices increased at 10.3 per cent in the Kathmandu valley followed by 9.3 per cent in Terai and 8.8 per cent in Hill against increments of 6.4 per cent, 7.8 per cent and 8.4 per cent, respectively in the same month of the last fiscal year. Nnnn AGREE ON POLLS BEFORE POLLS SAYS UPENDRA YADAV Kathmandu, 14 May: Chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) Upendra Yadav on Monday said that the political parties should arrive at a consensus on the basic principles of the new statute before going for fresh polls, Republica reports.. “The country should conduct elections only after it is assured that a new constitution will actually be promulgated,” said Yadav while addressing a press conference organized by his party in the capital. He stressed the need for resolving the political issues before the polls take place, pointing out that elections alone cannot address such issues. “We are ready for elections and agitations alike,” Yadav said, “If our concerns are not addressed we will take to the streets in order to safeguard the achievements of past movements.” Terming the presidential order on removing constitutional difficulties ´unconstitutional´ and ´undemocratic´, Yadav stated that the Khil Raj Regmi-led Interim Election Council was formed in contravention of democratic norms and values. Asked about the prospects of an electoral alliance among Madhesi parties, he said, “It´s too early to comment on the issue,” The Madhes-based party has also demanded that the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) be dissolved and Regmi step down from the post of chief justice as his continuing to hold on to that post was against the principles of separation of powers and checks and balance. Meanwhile, Bharat Bimal Yadav, former senior vice-chairman of Sadbhawana Party-Anandidevi (SP-A), joined the MPRF on Monday. MPRF Chairman Yadav welcomed Bimal into the party. He stated that Bimal would be given the post of senior leader of the party. Also addressing the press conference, Bimal, who had kept away from mainstream politics since the Madhes movement, said that he has joined the MPRF as it is a party that has emerged from that movement. “I decided to join MPRF as this party will not go against the people´s sentiments and the spirit of the movement,” he said. Nnnn NC FOR FEWER PROVINCES Kathmandu, 14 May: A nine-member Nepali Congress task force is preparing to suggest fewer provinces in the country's new federal set-up, The Kathmandu Post writes.. The task force was formed by the Mahasamiti last month to craft the party's position on key national issues. According to a member of the panel, the taskforce will suggest the party go for six or seven provinces in the new constitution. In the Mahasamiti meeting too, a majority of the party members suggested the leadership stand for fewer provinces . The State Restructuring Commission formed by the government last year has suggested 10 provinces , while the major parties had agreed on 11 provinces on May 15, 2012, two weeks before the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA). If the leadership endorses the suggestions of the task force, the position of the NC and the CPN-UML on federalism will be similar. The UML has also recently decided that its election slogan will be multiple identity-based federalism with fewer provinces . The 1,300-member Mahasamiti, a policy decision making body of the NC , had formed the taskforce uder Vice-chairman Ram Chandra Poudel after the meeting made no headway on federalism and other issues. “We will provide a justification as to why more provinces as claimed by the UCPN (Maoist) is not possible in Nepal,” a member of the task force told the Post. On the demands put forth by the party's Janajati leaders, the task force will suggest the leadership stand for identity of different ethnic groups as a single identity-based federal structure is not possible in a diverse country like Nepal. The NC 's Janajati leaders are threatening to leave the party if the leadership fails not favour ethnic federalism. On forms of governance, the task force has reinforced the party's position of a parliamentary system. The UML recently proposed a prime minister directly elected by the people, while the NC is firm on its stance that the PM should be elected by the parliament. The UCPN (Maoist), meanwhile, is rooting for a directly-elected president. The parties have earlier agreed to adopt a mixed model of governance. For the Madhes, the taskforce will suggest a especial social and economic package to retain the party's position, according to a leader. The panel has also suggested the party stand for better representation of Dalits and marginalised groups in state mechanisms. Taskforce member Ram Krishna Yadav said they will soon submit their report to the leadership. The party's Central Working Committee will meet to finalise the stance once the party receives the report. The NC plans to prepare its election manifesto as per the report submitted by the task force. nnnn PAY TIED TO INFLATION Kathmandu, 14 May: Employers have stood firmly on their stand of reviewing alary on the basis of inflation calculated by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) even though trade unions are demanding cent percent raise in minimum remuneration of workers, Republica reports.. Inflation is hovering around 10 percent over the past few years.Employers´ representatives made clear their stance at the 4th meeting of Minimum Wage Fixation Committee (MWFC) held on Monday. However, they failed to fix the minimum salary. Trade unions leaders had made a presentation in the meeting last week, attempting to justify their demands for monthly remuneration (salary plus allowance) of Rs 12,400. “We are for increasing remuneration of workers on the basis of inflation rate made public by NRB as well as the paying capacity of employers firms, which are passing through slowdown in business,” said Uday Raj Pandey, representative of the employers in MWFC. Pandey, who is also the executive member of the FNCCI, said workers´ remuneration has to be determined keeping in view their productivity and should be differentiated in line with the living cost in different geographical locations. “As productivity of workers determines how much remuneration they deserve, we are insisting that there should be relationship between salary and productivity growth,” Pandey added. At the meeting, employers proposed establishing ´Wage Board´ - a permanent mechanism for automatic review of remuneration at certain interval - in the long run. They also demanded that remuneration be treated as variable cost of enterprises and that separate remunerations be fixed according to sectors of employment. The employers have also suggested to the government to take load-shedding and rising bank interest rates that lead to low productivity into consideration while reviewing remuneration. Trade union leaders, on the other hand, reiterated their demand of doubling remuneration to Rs 12,400, keeping in view the rising cost of living and monthly budget required for a four-member family. “Inflation alone should not be considered the base for reviewing remuneration as real inflation in the market is far higher than the figure calculated by NRB,” Hari Dutta Joshi, vice-president of General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GFONT), said. Joshi, who is also member of MWFC, said employers should be more pragmatic to ensure better social security for industrial workers. Joint Trade Union Coordination Center (JTUCC) -- a common platform of country´s seven major trade unions -- has nominated Joshi, Dhirendra Singh and Ganesh Regmi to the committee. Similarly Manish Agrawal, Ashok Todi and Uday Raj Pandey are representative of the private sector in the committee. The government had formed the tripartite committee led by a joint secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) in the first week of April. The committee has been mandated to settle the issue regarding minimum salary of workers within three months. Two years ago, employers, trade unions and government officials had agreed to fix minimum monthly remuneration of worker at Rs 6200, including allowance of Rs 2,650, and daily wage at Rs 231. nnnn


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