KATHMANDU, April 4: Progress in development indicators of the country’s 14th development plan have been more satisfactory compared to those in the past plan periods, according to a report of National Planning Commission.
In the first two years of the three-year plan (FY2016/17 to FY2018/19), indicators in agriculture, social development, poverty reduction, access to drinking water, and average economic growth have posted fair progress. However, figures of physical infrastructure are still bleak.
The approach paper for the 15th plan, this time of a five-year period from FY2019/20 to FY2023/24, which was unveiled by the NPC for discussion, has reviewed progress of the 14th plan.
The review has stated that the successful election of three tiers of government and formation of a stable government at the center have laid a ground for stability and confidence amongst investors to invest.
Speaking at the Development Council Meeting held in Kathmandu on Wednesday, Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that indicators of the first two years of the 14th plan, which was implemented after the end of a long political transition, were relatively satisfactory.
He noted progress in agriculture and poverty reduction by two percent during the period and added that social development also marked a progress.
The finance minister, who had portrayed a bad shape of the country’s economy issuing a white paper last year this week after assuming office, has now portrayed the overall economic indicators to be in the positive direction.
Khatiwada, however, admitted very low progress in developing physical infrastructure although the sector was a government priority. The 14th planned development will come to an end in mid-July this year.
The average economic growth in the last two fiscal years has been 6.64, against the target of 6.6 percent.
“These achievements are the closest to the target after the 8th development plan,” according to the approach paper, which has set very ambitious targets for the country.
Agriculture sector has posted a growth of 4 percent in the last two years against the target of 4.7 percent in the plan.
The review says that improvements in labor relations, continuous supply of electricity, and stable politics have contributed toward these achievements.
The review has also noted that stable politics has improved investment climate in the country.
“The country’s economy is heading toward a positive direction with the record tourist inflow of over 1.1 million in 2018,” says the report. Expenditure ratio of gross domestic products has improved from 31 percent to 36 percent in Fiscal Year 2017/18 compared to the previous year, 2016/18.
The report says: “Expansion of economic sector, implementation of expansionary financial policy and prudent monetary policy has kept inflation at the lowest in recent years.”
Figure of Human Development Index, which was targeted at 0.57 has already been achieved, and the index was 0.574 by the end of Fiscal Year 2017/18.
Target of life expectancy in the plan period was 72 years, which has reached 70 years at the end of Fiscal Year 2017/18. Population having access to safe drinking water has already reached 94.9 against the target of 90 percent.
Target of building irrigation infrastructure was set at 1.52 million hectares, and the progress in the two years stands at 1.47 million hectares, while the population having internet access has reached to 55.4 percent against the target of 65 percent.
The concept paper which is being discussed will be approved and endorsed by the meeting led by chairman of the NPC and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli soon. The 15th plan will begin in mid-July next year.