Economy of Nepal

In 1990-2000, the annual GDP growth rate was 2.4%, in 2000/01 – 4.6%, in 2001/02 – 0.8%. GDP $5.5 billion (or $30.6 billion PPP) and per capita income $1327 (PPP) (2000). The share of Nepal in the world economy is small (less than 0.1%).

Economically active population 9.9 million people. (43% of the population) (2001). The share of the unemployed is 4.9%, 47% were not fully employed. In the 1990s more than 1 million people left to work abroad. Nepal itself lacks a skilled labor force. In 1990-2000, the average annual increase in prices for consumer goods amounted to 8.6%. The growth of the price index in 2000/01 – 2.1%, in 2001/02 – 3%.

In 2001, more than 6.5 million people were employed in agriculture, 65.7% of the economically active population (in 1991 – 81.2%), in trade, restaurant and hotel business – 9.9% (it was 3.5% ), in industry – 8.8% (was 2%), in social services – 7.8% (was 10.2%).

According to cheeroutdoor, agriculture remains the leading sector of the economy. It accounted for 39% of GDP (2000/01). Processed approx. 3.7 million hectares. Main food crops: rice (harvest in 2000/01 – 4.2 million tons), corn (more than 1.5 million tons), wheat (1.3 million tons), barley, millet. Main cash crops: sugar cane (2.2 million tons), oilseeds, tobacco, jute, tea bush. The collection of fruits and vegetables amounted to almost 2.5 million tons. Animal husbandry is less developed (meat production – almost 200 thousand tons, milk – 1.2 million tons). The fish catch amounted to 35 thousand tons.

The service sector accounts for 37% of GDP (2000). Trade, restaurant and hotel business (11% of GDP) are developing quite rapidly, which is largely due to the service of foreign tourists. The number of tourists reaches almost 0.5 million people. per year (2001).

The manufacturing industry is underdeveloped. It accounted for (2000/01) 9.5% of GDP. Main industries: processing of agricultural products, production of clothes and carpets, tobacco industry, production of cement and bricks. Almost 1.5 billion kWh of energy was generated (2000). Construction accounted for 9% of GDP.

The length of roads is approx. 15.8 thousand km (paved almost 4.6 thousand km), railways – 51 km (2002). More than 60 thousand cars were registered (2002). 1.6 million people were transported by rail. (2000). 45 airports (with concrete runways – 9). More than 640 thousand people were transported by plane. (2000).

After 1990, the main directions in economic policy became privatization (with conflicting results), decentralization (granting additional financial rights to local government), measures aimed at attracting foreign capital (which did not give much results), infrastructure development and the implementation of various development programs. Bureaucratic restrictions on entrepreneurial and commercial activities are removed. The fight against poverty and underemployment has been proclaimed a priority task in the social sphere.

The Nepalese Central Bank was established in 1956 and is responsible for economic, financial, banking and price stability. Issues licenses to commercial banks and controls their activities, determines the exchange rate, takes the necessary measures to curb price increases, acts as a banker for the government, commercial banks and companies, cooperatives. Financial resources of commercial banks slightly exceed 200 billion rupees (2002). Foreign exchange reserves in the banking sector amount to 112 billion rupees (2003).

Private consumption is 75% of GDP (2000/01), public spending – 19.4% (income – 11.9%). All government spending amounted to approx. 80 billion rupees. Foreign aid (almost half of it is free) has exceeded 30 billion rupees. In 2000, public spending on education and health care amounted to 3.3 and 1.3% of GDP (private – 4.2%). In 2001 and 2002 there was a sharp drop in government spending on development. Domestic savings were 13.2% in 2001/02. External debt exceeds $2.5 billion (2001). Debt service accounted for 1.8% of GDP.

The incomes of the 10% high-income group of the population (29.8% of all incomes of the population) were 9.3 times higher than the incomes of the 10% low-income group (3.2%). Women’s incomes (2000) are significantly lower ($880 versus $1,752 for men). In 2000, 37.7% of the population had an income of less than $1 a day, and 82.5% – less than $2. According to the national methodology, the proportion of the poor is 42% (in urban areas – 23%). In recent years, the percentage of poor urban residents has decreased, while those living in rural areas have increased. 54.1% of children under 5 are permanently malnourished. Nepal ranks only 142nd in the UNDP Human Development Index, although it is constantly rising: 0.289 (1975), 0.328 (1980), 0.370 (1985), 0.416 (1990), 0.453 (1995), 0.490 (2000 ).

In 2001/02, the volume of foreign trade amounted to 153 billion rupees. Export is significantly inferior to import (more than 2 times). Ready-made clothes are mainly exported (in 2001/02 – 42.1% of exports), woolen carpets (33.2%), wool products (10.1%). The main imports are food products, oil products, fertilizers, metals, and electrical goods. The most important exporters to Nepal are India, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia (respectively 55, 9.5, 6.5%). The main importers from Nepal are India, the USA and Germany (respectively 51, 19 and 7%).

Economy of Nepal