Republica Morning Brief: Sept 28

Published On: September 28, 2020 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Nepal recorded 10 more fatalities linked with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours. With this, Nepal’s COVID-19 death toll has jumped to 477--which is 0.65 percent of total coronavirus infections.  According to the data maintained by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the Kathmandu district recorded three COVID-19 related deaths, followed by Lalitpur and Bardiya with two deaths each. Likewise, Bara, Rupandehi and Achham districts also recorded one COVID-19 related death each. As of Sunday afternoon, as many as 33 COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment on ventilators and 225 are in intensive care units of various hospitals across the country.

 Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the executive chairperson of the party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the proposed Cabinet reshuffle. The duo held discussions on the matter for about two hours. However, they failed to forge consensus on the Cabinet reshuffle. Oli was in a mood to reshuffle his Cabinet today itself. However, the agenda has been postponed as Oli is yet to forge consensus with Dahal regarding the same, according to sources.

The construction of the 40 megawatt (MW) Upper Chameliya Hydropower project in Darchula district has started. The project in Chameliya River that flows through Sudur Pashchim Province, Darchula district, Api Mountain and Marma Rural Municipality, will be carried out by Api Power Company. The dam of the project will be constructed at Okhal of Api Himal Rural Municipality and the water from the Chameliya River will be rerouted with the help of a 6 kilometer-long 3.2 meter diameter penstock pipe. According to the project, a powerhouse will be constructed at Ghattegadh and the generated 40 MW electricity will be brought to Walanch Substation through a 16 kilometer 132 kV transmission line and will be connected to the national grid.

 Despite the unfavorable situation, the remittance inflow in the first month of the current fiscal year increased by 23 percent to Rs 92.71 billion, according to the NRB report. In US Dollar terms, the growth was 14.5 percent, compared to the growth of just 0.7 percent during the review period of 2019/20, when there was no such difficult situation hitting the country’s remittance earnings. Following the government-enforced lockdown on March 24, the central bank had projected a drop of over 15 percent in remittances in the last fiscal year. While the World Bank also projected remittances to go down by 14 percent, the Central Bureau of Statistics also projected a decrease of Rs 163 billion, or over 18 percent. According to NRB officials, with the government tightening the noose on informal trade including gold purchase, the migrant workers could have been sending their money through the formal channels instead of using informal ones, including hundi and money transfers, among others. “The restrictions and lockdowns could also have prompted the migrant workers to send money through the banking channels,” said Gunakar Bhatta, spokesperson for the NRB.

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