Friday, May 18, 2018

Merger of two communist parties in Nepal and more

From The Kathmandu Post: Two major national left political forces--CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre)--merged to become the Nepal Communist Party on Thursday, 69 years after the communist movement gained momentum in the country with the establishment of a party by the same name. 

The NCP announced a nine-member Central Secretariat. Apart from Co-chairs Oli and Dahal, the team has former PMs Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal as senior leaders. Bishnu Poudel, one of the architects of the unification process, has been named general secretary while Narayan Kaji Shrestha has got the responsibility of spokesperson. The secretariat has senior leader Bam Dev Gautam, Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa as members. The NCP will have a 45-member Standing Committee and 441 Central Committee members. The Standing Committee comprises 26 UML and 19 Maoist Centre leaders while the Central Committee has 241 UML and 200 Maoist leaders.

According to the declaration, the parties have agreed to highlight the positive aspects of the Janata ko Bahudaliya Janabad (People’s Multi-party Democracy), currently practised by the UML, and the Janabad of the 21st century, the guiding principle of the Maoist party, to create a new ideological framework governed by people’s democracy and socialism.

Govt to scrap fees unfairly levied on Malaysia-bound Nepali workers

From The Kathmandu Post: Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista on Thursday decided to scrap all the fees imposed on Nepali migrant workers as a result of the Malaysian government’s unilateral move to add extra financial burden on them. Nepali workers are compelled to pay for MiGRAMS, bio-metric medical test, services of the One Stop Centre (OSC) operated by Malaysia VLN Nepal Pvt Ltd, Immigration Security Clearance (ISC), and visa fees, totalling up to Rs18,480 per individual excepting other expenses borne by Nepali workers before landing jobs in Malaysia.

Nepali workers have been paying Rs 3,300 for online registration (MiGRAMS) while other bio-metric identification tests cost them Rs4,500. Other charges include Rs3,164, which is paid at the OSC for collecting workers’ passport and Rs3,616 to the VLN for online data entry. Besides, one has to pay Rs3,200 for ISC being provided by the GSG Services Nepal and Rs700 in visa fee to the Malaysian embassy.

Current account deficit widens to Rs 171.64 billion; BOP swings into Rs 14.6-billion deficit

From MyRepublica: Both current account and balance of payment (BoP) of the country slipped into deficit in the third quarter of the current fiscal year 2017/18, posing risk to external sector stability. According to the ‘Current Macroeconomic and Financial Situation of Nepal (based on Nine Months’ Data of FY2017/18’ released by the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB)) on Thursday, current account deficit widened to Rs 171.64 billion in the review period from a deficit of Rs 10.34 billion in the same period of FY2016/17. Similarly, the overall BoP turned into a deficit of Rs 14.60 billion in contrast to a surplus of Rs 50.60 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

According to the NRB data, merchandise imports in the review period rose 20.6 percent to Rs 876.29 billion compared to a growth of 39.7 percent in the same period of the previous year. Exports, on the other hand, increased by 8.2 percent to Rs 59.74 billion compared to a surge of 12.1 percent in the same period of FY2016/17. The declining growth rate of remittances is also pushing the current account deeper into deficit. Gross foreign exchange reserves decreased by 1.4 percent to Rs 1064.37 billion as at mid-April 2018 from Rs 1079.43 billion as at mid-July 2017. The workers’ remittances, a major source of foreign currency earning for Nepal, increased 5.6 percent to Rs 540.38 billion in the review period compared to a rise of 6.3 percent in the same period of the previous year.