Nepal’s economic growth projected lower at 3.04 percent

Kathmandu, June 8 ( IANS) Nepal’s annual growth will be significantly lowered from over 5 percent to 3.04 percent, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

According to the CBS, the country’s economic growth was severely affected by the deadly April 25 earthquake and the state agency on Monday has projected the country’s economic growth would be confined at 3.04 percent for the current fiscal year.

Following the downgraded economic growth, Nepal’s possibility of graduating from Least Developed Countries to developed countries becomes slim, said the CBS.

“It is going to be an uphill task for us to graduate from LDCs category due to damage caused by the quake. It will take at least 4 to 5 years to rebuild the economy to bring back in normal track,” said Govinda Raj Pokhrel, Vice President of the National Planning Commission.

The quake has hit hard social sector and would have severe impact on per capita income, he said adding that reaching parallel with developed countries’ per capita income by 2022 was going to be a daunting task, he added.

The quake has taken toll on various back bones of Nepal’s economy like agriculture, service, tourism, real estate and others. Initial reports suggest that over US $10 billion was damaged done by the quake.

Prior to the earthquake, the CBS, the government body responsible for maintaining statistics of country’s economy projected the growth at 4.58 percent for the fiscal year 2071/72 BS, but was not made public.

This was the first time after the earthquake that the government made official projection of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“The growth of just three percent is disappointing but it is not unexpected,” said Swarnim Wagle, a member of National Planning Commission (NPC), at a press meet organised by CBS on Monday.

“The decline of GDP by 1.5 percentage point in the economic activities of less than three months suggests a huge impact on the economy.

“This is really a serious challenge, he added.

The CBS has made downward revision of almost all sectors following the quake in comparison to its pre-quake projection.

The biggest impact would be seen in construction, real-estate, hotel and restaurants, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, financial sector, and education among other sectors.

Only sector that would see growth were health and social services. “The GDP is such a thing where we have to count even sick people as it amounts to growth of health sector,” said Wagle.

The growth projection for public administration and defence has been kept unchanged as the government staffers are not expected to get reduced salaries and facilities.

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