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Editorial: Navigating economic challenges

Editorial: Navigating economic challenges

The macroeconomic report for the first half of the current fiscal year and the mid-term review of the monetary policy for fiscal year 2023-24, recently released by the Nepal Rastra Bank, shows positive developments in the external sector of the economy. The economy has experienced strong performance in sectors such as mining, construction, tourism and financial services. The resurgence of tourism after Covid has been remarkable, with a substantial increase in tourist arrivals contributing to economic activities and income generation. Infrastructure development, particularly in the energy sector, is expected to enhance production potential. Foreign exchange reserves have reached an impressive Rs 1,816.57bn by mid-January. This achievement is primarily fueled by a notable 25.3 percent increase in remittances amounting to Rs 733.33bn, which undoubtedly paints a positive picture of Nepal's external sector.

Prudent policy adjustments such as maintaining interest rate stability and implementing targeted measures like lowering interest rates for institutional fixed deposits in the mid-term review of monetary policy demonstrate a proactive approach to mitigating risks and stimulating economic activity. The Nepal Rastra Bank's decision to maintain the interest rate corridor while implementing measures to enhance its effectiveness shows its commitment to balanced monetary policies. Moreover, the focus on supporting agriculture and small to medium enterprises through regulatory retail portfolio arrangements reflects a dedication to growth and economic resilience.

While a healthy foreign exchange reserve is essential for economic stability, it is not a solution to all of our economic problems. The decline in exports, slow import growth, manufacturing slowdown, low demand for bank loans from the private sector and the lack of investment despite favorable conditions highlight the underlying issues plaguing our economy. The government has been consistently missing revenue targets. It is crucial to accurately assess economic indicators and devise appropriate policies. Worryingly, both the government and the central bank seem to be falling short in this regard. It is high time for the government and the central bank to shift their focus from highlighting nominal successes to implementing meaningful changes.