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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper presents Nepal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is having a severe impact on Nepal’s economy. During recent months, remittances have fallen considerably, tourist arrivals collapsed, and domestic activity has taken a hit amid social distancing measures. The authorities are taking proactive, well-targeted measures to address the human and economic impact of the pandemic, while preserving macroeconomic stability. Such measures include increasing health spending, strengthening social assistance to protect the most vulnerable, and providing bank liquidity and credit support. Additional assistance from development partners, beyond what had already been committed before the outbreak of the pandemic, is needed to close the remaining balance of payments gap and ease the fiscal situation. The authorities’ commitment to high standards of transparency and governance in the management of financial assistance is welcome. The IMF staff assesses that Nepal meets the RCF eligibility requirements and supports the request. Public debt is at low risk of distress and there is adequate capacity to repay the Fund. The IMF disbursement is expected to play a catalytic role in securing additional financing from Nepal’s development partners.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2020 Article IV Consultation focuses on Nepal’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. During recent years, strong growth in Nepal has been supported by greater political stability, improved electricity supply, and reconstruction activity following the devastating earthquakes in 2015. Additional policies are needed to continue to support inclusive growth, while safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability. Fiscal policy should remain prudent, and the transition to fiscal federalism carefully managed. Macroprudential measures should remain in place to limit the build-up of financial sector risk. Recent reforms to boost foreign investment need a supportive implementation environment. Strengthening the implementation of monetary policy requires a well-functioning interest rate framework that reduces volatility in short-term interest rates. Less short-term interest rate volatility would support financial market development and improve policy signaling and transmission. The IMF staff emphasizes the need to introduce a standing deposit facility as a first step toward establishing a reliable implementation track record for the interest rate corridor.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Article IV Consultation highlights that following a prolonged period of tepid growth, economic activity in Nepal has picked up, reflecting cyclical factors and some structural improvements, especially in electricity supply. Discussions focused on policies needed to stem rising balance of payments pressures, safeguard financial stability, and structural reforms to ensure high, sustainable and inclusive growth. Continued improvements in revenue performance are seen to be important to maintain a strong fiscal position and meet capital spending needs. The IMF staff welcomed the authorities’ efforts to increase domestic revenue mobilization. The authorities broadly agreed with the IMF staff’s assessment and fiscal policy advice. The authorities noted that the transition to fiscal federalism and the pickup of reconstruction. Progress has been made with putting in place a fiscal federal framework but more needs to be done to ensure sustainability, make budgets more realistic and spending more efficient, and build implementation capacity.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Nepal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Before the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal’s macroeconomic performance was broadly favorable but the government’s weak budget implementation capacity held back growth and propped up the external position. The authorities’ main challenge has been to boost their capacity to plan, prioritize, and implement capital spending. The authorities are requesting financial assistance under the IMF’s RCF to address the urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs associated with the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a disbursement under the RCF in the amount of SDR 35.65 million.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context: Successful elections for a new Constituent Assembly and formation of a new government have stabilized the political situation. Macroeconomic situation and outlook: Nepal’s macroeconomic situation remains broadly favorable. Growth is projected to recover in 2013/14 owing to good monsoons, robust growth in services, and increased public spending. Inflation is moderating, in line with developments in India. High remittance inflows are supporting a strong external position, as well as high reserve money growth. Risks to the outlook are slightly tilted to the downside, involving slower-than-expected growth in countries hosting Nepali workers and domestic financial sector risks. Medium term prospects: While remittances are expected to continue to support the external position, the outlook for growth depends on improving the environment for private investment. This requires a decisive boost in public capital spending, and structural reforms in key areas. Financial sector: Despite progress, significant vulnerabilities remain. The recent assessment under the FSAP, Nepal’s first, raised concerns about asset quality and interconnectedness, as well as financial sector infrastructure—including the legal framework—and supervision and crisis preparedness. At the same time, a largely unsupervised cooperatives sector is growing rapidly. Key policy recommendations: Monetary policy should aim at controlling the volatility and level of excess reserves in the financial system, implying a modest tightening of monetary conditions. The exchange rate peg to the Indian rupee provides a useful nominal anchor for the economy, and the real exchange rate is broadly in line with fundamentals. Capital spending needs to be boosted to provide key infrastructure, and reforms implemented to support private investment, which will help generate sustained economic growth and employment opportunities. In the financial sector, further reforms to bolster regulation and supervision, and improve financial infrastructure are needed to reduce risk and increase access to finance.
International Monetary Fund
Nepal is a post-conflict state seeking to formalize democracy in a challenging environment. Significant headway toward a new state has been made since the 2006 peace accord. Progress on a range of technical issues (including public financial management, monetary policy, and financial sector supervision) has also been achieved. However, the failure of the constituent assembly to meet an end-May 2012 deadline to ratify a new constitution is a serious setback, and a major impediment to macroeconomic management and prospects for growth. The subsequent dismissal of the constituent assembly in June 2012 has left day-to-day operations in the hands of a caretaker government. New elections are notionally slated for April 2013, but will require fractured political parties to agree on an interim consensus government. In the meantime, key articles of legislation (such as the government budget) have been delayed. More broadly, the lack of a consensus government and functioning parliament appear to be dampening investment (foreign and domestic), keeping potential donor support at bay, and undermining prospects for sensitive financial sector and state enterprise reforms.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This report aims to accomplish three objectives: (a) it provides an update on the status of implementation, impact, and costs of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI); (b) it proposes a modification of the reporting of progress under the initiatives, including the discontinuation of the annual status of implementation reports, and the preparation of periodic reports on debt vulnerabilities in low income countries (LICs), including HIPCs; and (c) it proposes a further ring-fencing of the list of countries eligible or potentially eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative based on end-2010 income and indebtedness criteria.
International Monetary Fund
Over the past several years, Nepal has pursued a prudent fiscal policy, which has resulted in a significant reduction of public debt as a percentage of GDP. This paper reexamines the fiscal stance in Nepal in light of recent developments. The optimal level of the fiscal deficit is constrained by the need to achieve and sustain a debt-to-GDP ratio with an acceptable level of vulnerability to distress. The debt sustainability analyses (DSA) framework focuses on the net present value (NPV) of external public and publicly guaranteed debt, though public debt is also analyzed.
International Monetary Fund
After years of macroeconomic stability, the global crisis is having a substantial, albeit somewhat delayed, impact on Nepal’s economy and exposing its structural weaknesses. Although the Nepalese rupee appears modestly overvalued, maintaining the peg should remain a key near-term policy objective. Risks in the financial sector are coming to a head and need to be addressed urgently. The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB)’s recent directives are welcome, but enforcement is crucial to their effectiveness. Bank licensing policy needs to be tightened, banking sector consolidation incentivized, and state-controlled bank reform tackled.