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Nepal’s imports soar amid ongoing pandemic

Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba

Amid rising economic challenges owing to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, Nepal’s import bill touched the 1 trillion rupee mark in the first half of the current financial year—an year on year increase of 51.1 per cent.

The Sher Bahadur Deuba administration, which took charge only in July last year, is already looking at ways to curb imports of non essential items.

This is the second time after 2017-18 that Kathmandu’s imports touched this level.

“The amount that Nepal spent to buy foreign goods in six months is one-fourth of the country’s annual value of goods and services produced in the country of gross domestic product (GDP) or equal to earnings that Nepali migrant workers sent home last year,” the Kathmandu Post said.

Also read: India, Nepal sign pact on energy trading

In 2017-18, Nepal’s imports had surged due to the reconstruction exercise after it was hit by a deadly earthquake that left over 8,900 people dead and many more injured.

The need for Nepal to increase its food imports has also risen. Food imports into the country have been rising even before the outbreak of the pandemic.

According to ResearchGate the steady increase in food imports “signals not only the growing dependency trends but also raises serious questions about the future of the agricultural sector in the country-a potential threat to national security and sovereignty.”

Reports suggest that Himalayan country imports of key agricultural products between 2015 to 2020 jumped 65 per cent.