Remittance remains a crucial pillar of the Nepali economy, supporting almost one-third of the national GDP. Like other economic sectors, this sector has been disrupted in recent years due to Covid-19, increasing integration of technology into key sectors, and related government plans and policies. In this brief, we highlight major issues related to the Nepali migrant workers and their sent remittance.
With the increasing adoption of smartphones and internet penetration during the last two decades, the digitization of key economic sectors has become a prime choice of policymakers for more efficient economic outcomes. In Nepal, GoN along with a few key private-sector stakeholders have taken major steps to digitize the Nepali economy, especially after Covid-19 struck the country in Jan 2020. In this brief, we highlight Nepal’s digitization journey, key sectors disrupted by Covid-19 so far, major challenges to effective digitization, and key GoN policies that support Nepal’s digital economy goals.
As the debates on climate change become more prominent in recent decades, countries around the world have been taking initiatives at the national, regional, and global levels. In this context, Nepal too has taken a few meaningful initiatives in the past three decades using diplomatic mechanisms aimed at managing the impacts of climate change on the country. The current brief highlights a brief history of climate change negotiations, Nepal’s role so far and the way forward.
Climate Change has emerged as one of the key challenges of the twenty-first century. Global economies have witnessed climate change-driven disasters on annual basis and Nepal is not an exception. In this brief, we highlight the key impacts of climate change on the Nepali economy, and related Government of Nepal (GoN) policies aimed at addressing stakeholders’ efforts on local mitigation and adaptation strategies
The monetary policy is one of the major policy instruments used by central banks around the world to keep a check on the health of the economy. As Covid-19 continues to affect the key sectors of the economy, the central bank of Nepal that also works as the country’s Monetary authority – Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) – has introduced several measures to keep the country’s economy running amid the ongoing crisis. This policy brief takes into consideration evolving issues from the pandemic and provides some feasible recommendations to the central bank and the government to frame policies to better address the crisis.
The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has severely affected the key economic sectors of Nepal. As the fiscal policy is one of the key tools used by the governments around the world, the government and other key stakeholders in Nepal naturally expect this tool to incorporate enough provisions to support the national economy. This policy brief aims to provide policy recommendations to the GoN towards the preparation of the White Paper and the Fiscal Policy.
Given poor healthcare conditions in the country, Nepal has suffered hugely from the second wave of Covid-19. As the second wave hit Nepal, CCMC and other key government agencies have struggled to arrange required essential healthcare facilities, including quality hospital facilities and vaccines, to the people. Though the pandemic has forced GoN to announce an increase in annual healthcare expenditure, a welcome move from the GoN side, the pre-existing conditions in this sector and available time period made the thus announced raised health sector budget and expenditure plans unrealistic. A pre-mature federal structure of the country is to be partially blamed for this limitation. Since Nepal does not stand in a position to manage additional financial resources for higher healthcare expenditure itself, it has relied on the country’s old bi-lateral and multilateral partners to meet the current needs.
With the rapid spread of the triple-mutated Indian variant of Covid-19, the second wave of pandemic in Nepal has proven to be more fatal than that of the first wave last year. To prevent mass spreading of the virus, GoN has shut down the country’s academic institutions and suspended all major annual examinations. Traditionally the April-May period remains crucial for Nepal’s academic calendar for new admission sessions. In this policy brief, we highlight how disruption of key academic activities during this crucial period of the academic calendar for the second year in a row could affect Nepali students’ education outcomes in short-term and in long-term. In addition, we also explain how extended shutdown of academic activities could limit Nepali professionals’ (including bureaucrats, security personnel and politicians) overall learning from bilateral and multilateral academic exchange programs.
Fifteen months since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in December 2019 in Wuhan, pharmaceutical companies and suppliers around the world have been in a global race to manufacture vaccines adequate enough to vaccinate people against the virus. Already, some countries have been able to vaccinate sizeable proportions of their population while many others are in the process of doing so. However, for the vast number of countries in the Global South adequate supplies of vaccines have been difficult as of March end. As the key global economies are hoarding vaccines – more than their populations oftentimes – the Global South, most certainly all nations in the much-populated South Asia, are struggling to secure minimum vaccine doses to vaccinate a reasonable share of their populations. Internally, they are also facing additional challenges in equitably distributing whatever little vaccine doses they have managed to secure. To this end, we recommend GoN to strengthen its coordination efforts among the three tiers of governments as well as with relevant health and development agencies (local and global), international vaccine manufacturers and suppliers, the neighbouring countries but also countries that have made special contributions to Nepal’s economy (e.g. destination countries for the Nepali migrant workers and Nepali students, and key trade partners) to help meet the target of vaccinating at least 72 percent of the national population.
Covid-19 has been one of the worst public health crises of the modern time. First reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in end-December 2019 and declared a pandemic by WHO in mid-March 2020, it has gone on to severely affect countries around the world. Nepal is no exception. In the period we are evaluating, the pandemic not only challenged public health systems of the individual countries and that of the regional and global institutions but also stalled activities across the key sectors and industries, including those in the public service, trade, manufacturing, aviation, education, entertainment, arts and culture. Nepal reported its first confirmed case of Covid-19, which also was the first confirmed case in all of South Asia, on 23 Jan 2020. And, like most other countries in the Global South, Nepal has been severely hit by the pandemic, and, by all accounts, will be a while before the country’s various sectors start functioning at pre-pandemic levels. On Jan 27, 2021, a year after it confirmed its first Covid-19 case, Nepal started its inoculation drive after it received one million doses of Covishield vaccine from India as a grant, thanks to ‘vaccine diplomacy.’ China has similarly pledged a half million doses. Additionally, through the COVAX initiative, Nepal is set to receive another 2.25 million doses, which will cover 3.3 percent of the national population. With all this, Nepal will still be far short of the government target to vaccinate 72 percent of its population. (COVAX, co-led by WHO, aims at accelerating fair and equitable access of vaccine for every country in the world).
First in the series, this issue of Policy Brief attempts to summarize key events related to Covid-19 in Nepal but avoids any generic recommendations. However, the current document sets a strong background for the Risk Outlook researchers to work on follow-up issues where they will work on high-priority thematic areas to undertake further research works and will also provide actionable policy recommendations.