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R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Date: December 9, 2009

Highlights

Nepal's Army chief Chhatra Man Gurung will pay a week-long visit to India this week, his first foreign trip after assuming office. President Pratibha Patil will confer on 57-year-old Gurung the honorary title of general of the Indian Army on December 14, according to Army Headquarters sources. The Taskforce formed by the three major political parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML -- met on Tuesday to resolve the political impasse in the country. Although the meeting held discussion on all current political issues, there was no decision on recommendations for solution of the political deadlock, according to the participating leaders. The UCPN-Maoist postponed the bandh, which was called in Tharuwan districts until December 18. The bandh was called protesting the Kailali’s Dudhejhari incident where five Maoists-aligned ‘squatters’ were killed in police action on Friday. Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal in a message on the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), said that South Asiawas enriched with deep-rooted feeling of unity and cooperation. The government is planning to award multi-year contracts for five projects this year. The government had announced the policy in the budget speech for the current fiscal year. One of the reasons cited for the slow progress in development activities is the system of awarding annual contracts. Donors have also complained about donor-funded projects starting late at last week's Nepal Portfolio Performance Review meet. UN World Food Program (WFP) is facing a critical funding shortfall and is forced to make a ration cuts to 600,000 food-for-work beneficiaries starting this December. Unless the WFP manages to raise $20 million to cover the needs for the next three months, more cut in the ration is expected. The government has set a target to dispatch labour attachés to seven additional countries within 20 days -- Kuwait, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea, Bahrain and Oman. Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW) that has been failing to extend roads infrastructure has proposed the government to discourage easy financing on vehicle purchase in order to manage the worsening traffic jams in the Kathmandu Valley.

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• •

The Supreme Court (SC) has found an effective way to clear the clutter. Two months after the implementation of the panel system, the apex court has disposed of over 60 percent of cases that had been piling up since 1994. In the first mass-scale action against its staffers, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) board Monday sacked three employees and suspended 21 others on charges of involving in oil theft and pocketing about Rs 30 million over the last one year. Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) officials furnished nine-point clarifications to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Tuesday. The MoF last Wednesday sought clarifications from NAC officials on why they sent commitment money equivalent to Rs 57.3 million to the manufacturers of Airbus aircraft without following the relevant procedures. The government has requested envoys of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and European Union to ensure transparency in the purchase of two Airbus aircraft for the national flag carrier. India Yamaha Motor's CEO and MD, Yukimine Tsuji has termed Nepal a significant market for Yamaha. "Along with Colombia and the Philippines, Nepal is one of the important export markets for Yamaha India," said Tsuji. After a bearish last week, the capital market seems to be gaining life as the Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) index went up by 6.17 points on Tuesday hitting 530.35. Between November 8 to December 8, Chilime Hydro Power Co (CHCL) posted highest maximum share price amongst the three hydropower companies whose share were traded in NEPSE (Nepal Stock Exchange). The maximum share price of the CHCL in its 12 transaction days was Rs 1,019 Diesel shortage has hit consumers in the Kathmandu Valley already reeling under short supply of petrol. As a result, more than half the vehicles running with diesel engine, particularly public transportation, remained off the roads on Tuesday. The German government has expressed interest to help Nepal dispose obsolete pesticides stored in various places since many years, reports say. It´s not only the schools in rural backwaters, but also schools in the capital, which fail run classes for 220 days a year as stipulated by the Education Act1971.

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POLITICS: Nepal Army chief to visit India; to be honoured by president Kathmandu: Nepal's Army chief Chhatra Man Gurung will pay a week-long visit to India this week, his first foreign trip after assuming office, during which he will be conferred with the honorary title of general of Indian Army. Gurung, who assumed office as the Nepal Army chief in September, will begin his India visit on December 11, at the invitation of Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor. President Pratibha Patil will confer on 57-year-old Gurung the honorary title of general of the Indian Army on December 14, according to Army Headquarters sources. Gurung will also attend a passing-out ceremony of Indian Army cadets at the Indian Military Academy on December 12 in Dehradun, where he himself passed out from, as a special guest. India has recently agreed to resume military cooperation with Nepal, suspended in 2005 after former King Gyanendra assumed absolute power. The decision to resume non-lethal military supplies to Nepal was taken during the recent security talks held between Nepalese and Indian officials in Kathmandu. Source: www.dnaindia.com Date: December 8, 2009

Taskforce meeting again on Wednesday The Taskforce formed by the three major political parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML -- met on Tuesday to resolve the political impasse in the country. Although the meeting held discussion on all current political issues, there was no decision on recommendations for solution of the political deadlock, according to the participating leaders. “We talked about all the political issues,” Narayankaji Shrestha, Maoist Vice Chair, told mediapersons after the meeting. “We will hold another meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] morning.” Shrestha said the meeting held detailed discussions on the ongoing political stalemate including the issue of civilian supremacy and joint resolution raised by the Maoist party, the party´s ongoing third phase of protest programs and Kailali incident. “We have started discussion on all issues right from the beginning,” Shrestha said.

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Home Minister Bhim Rawal and Bharat Mohan Adhikari of the CPN-UML, Shrestha and Dev Gurung of the UCPN (Maoist) and Krishna Sitaula of Nepali Congress attended the meeting held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction at Singha Durbar The Taskforce meeting was cut short after one hour due to the scheduled standing committee meeting of the Maoists. The Taskforce formed on Tuesday had been given two-day time to settle the issue. NC Taskforce member Sitaula said they will try to reach consensus. “We will try to arrive at consensus during Thursday´s meeting,” he said. Asked if the meeting agreed to form a probe commission over Kailai incident, Sitaula said there was no such agreement in the meeting. “The government could form a commission if it deemed necessary,” he added. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

Maoists postpone Kailali bandh DHANGADHI: The UCPN-Maoist postponed the bandh, which was called in Tharuwan districts until December 18. The bandh was called protesting the Kailali’s Dudhejhari incident where five Maoists-aligned ‘squatters’ were killed in police action on Friday. The party’s district committee, however, announced fresh protest programmes beginning December 11. Speaking at a press meet organised by the Maoists at their district office in Dhangadhi today, district in-charge Hari Gyawali ‘Akhanda’ said that they postponed the bandh considering the Sudurpaschim Mahotsav (Far-Western festival) and due to the requests of civil society leaders. The Maoists have put forth various demands, including declaring those killed in the Dudhejhari incident martyrs, providing compensation to the victims’ families, managing permanent settlement for the squatters, among others. Relocation of the recently established base camps of the security personnel from the forest areas is their another demand. “We can withdraw the protest programmes if our demands are met immediately,” said Akhanda. As part of the fresh protests, the former rebels will effect an indefinite Kailali district bandh from December 19.

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In the wake of the bloody anti-encroachment drive, political parties here in the district have been holding various rounds of talks, but to no avail. A similar all-party meeting held today too concluded inconclusively. Although today’s meeting made 13-point agreement, CDO Hari Krishna Poudel expressed his disagreement with the parties’ decision. CDO Poudel said that the administration had no sympathy to the forest encroachers. “How can we declare the encroachers the martyrs of the nation?’’ he asked, adding, “The administration was not bound to give the expenses for their funeral as well.’’ Meanwhile, students of different educational institutions in Dhangadhi demonstrated here today demanding to resume the classes. Normal life in the Far-western Region has been hugely affected on the straight fourth day due to the tension prompted by the Dudhejhari clashes. Source: www.thehimalayntimes.com Date: December 8, 2009

SAARC marks 25th anniversary Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has said that South Asia must work in tandem to deal with contemporary issues, including global warming, terrorism, food security and financial crisis, The Kathmandu Post reported on Wednesday. Nepal in a message on the 25th anniversary of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), said that South Asiawas enriched with deep-rooted feeling of unity and cooperation. "The transformation of SAARC within a quarter of a century into a vehicle of regional economic cooperation is indeed remarkable," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quoted by the daily as saying. Singh said he was pleased with what he called "rapid progress" on key projects, namely South Asian University, SAARC Museum, Textile and Handicrafts, SAARC Development Fund and SAARC Food Bank. These projects, Singh said, will benefit the people of South Asia in critical areas of socioeconomic development, including health, education, employment and infrastructure. Founded on Dec. 8, 1985, the SAARC includes Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The regional body has hosted 16 summits and come up with dozens of commitments.

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The SAARC charter states that the grouping "provides a platform for the peoples of the South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding" and aims to accelerate the process of development in member states. Source: news.xinhuanet.com Date: December 8, 2009

POLICY: Multi-year contracts for 5 projects planned The government is planning to award multi-year contracts for five projects this year. The government had announced the policy in the budget speech for the current fiscal year. One of the reasons cited for the slow progress in development activities is the system of awarding annual contracts. Donors have also complained about donor-funded projects starting late at last week's Nepal Portfolio Performance Review meet. Among the projects that are possibly getting three-year contracts are the KathmanduNijgadh fast-track highway and roads linking Birgunj-Jitpur, Sunauli-Butwal, Jogbani-Itahari and Surya Binayak-Dhulikhel, said the Finance Ministry. Finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal said that the Nepal Army would get the contract to open the track of the fast-track highway. The government plans to complete the other four projects within the next three years by upgrading the quality and widening the roads to six lanes with two dedicated cycle lanes. The government will allocate at least Rs. 2 billion for the latter four projects in a year. "More money will go to the projects which expend it without delay," said Khanal. Purna Kadariya, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, said that his ministry would conduct a study to examine whether contracts for both design and construction could be given to a single party. "If the study shows that a single party can be given both jobs, we will start work on the project by awarding a multi-year contract," he added. He said that he had already directed the Department of Roads to see if work could be started on these projects from this year. Khanal added that these projects had been chosen as the roads were in urgent need of improvement. The much hyped fast-track highway is a national priority. "The other projects are also very important because traffic jams on these roads connecting the country's major

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customs offices are delaying customs clearance and increasing the cost of business," said Khanal. There are customs offices in Birgunj (Parsa), Sunsari and Bhairahawa (Butwal) that fall under the Tarai-based road projects. "We decided to include the Surya Binayak-Dhulikhel route as it will encourage people to settle outside the Kathmandu Valley," Khanal added. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: December 8, 2009

WFP to cut food aid UN World Food Program (WFP) is facing a critical funding shortfall and is forced to make a ration cuts to 600,000 food-for-work beneficiaries starting this December. Unless the WFP manages to raise $20 million to cover the needs for the next three months, more cut in the ration is expected. "With the lean season approaching and Nepal facing its largest cereal deficit in decades, WFP no longer has the funds to maintain this vital safety net," Richard Ragan, WFP representative in Nepal, said in a statement. "At a time when WFP should be scaling up food assistance to protect the hungry population, a dire funding shortfall is forcing us to dramatically scale down," said Ragan adding that WFP is doing its best to raise the nearly $7 million needed each month to maintain current levels of assistance under this program. From December 2009 to December 2010, WFP needs $83 million to maintain food assistance to 1.6 million people currently covered under its food/cash-for-work program. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

Labour attachĂŠs to be appointed The government has set a target to dispatch labour attachĂŠs to seven additional countries within 20 days -- Kuwait, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea, Bahrain and Oman. Minister for Labour and Transport Management Mohamad Aftab Alam said that the preparation to appoint labour attachĂŠs and send them to their posts was going smoothly. "If the Labour Ministry receives good support from all the concerned stakeholders, we will be able to complete the task in the next 20 days," he added.

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Of the seven countries, Hong Kong and Israel, considered as the most lucrative destinations for Nepali female workers, have stopped hiring Nepali labour since 2005 and April 2009 respectively. "The appointment of a labour attaché in Hong Kong will also help us to intensify our lobbying to reopen it to Nepali workers," said Minister Alam. The government had started appointing labour attachés from last August as per the Foreign Employment Act 2007 with a view to promoting labour markets and working for the welfare of Nepali workers. Earlier in August, the government had appointed and sent labour attachés to four major labour destinations -- Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the U.A.E. and Qatar. These four countries are the major destinations for Nepali migrant workers, absorbing about 90 percent of them. According to an official at the ministry, the government had decided to send labour attachés to more countries after seeing the positive results from such a move. The government will appoint under-secretary level officials as labour attachés for Japan and South Korea while section officers will be appointed for the other five countries. "The Ministry of General Administration and the Ministry of Finance have already given permission to send labour attachés," said the official. "Currently, our process has reached the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: December 8, 2009 'Hike import duty to check traffic jam' Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW) that has been failing to extend roads infrastructure has proposed the government to discourage easy financing on vehicle purchase in order to manage the worsening traffic jams in the Kathmandu Valley. It has even recommended the government to substantially hike customs duty to check sharp rise in import of vehicles into the country, something which contradicts with the aspirations of middle-income group of the country. MoPPW´s proposal for improving Valley traffic Short-term • • •

Discourage easy financing on vehicles Hike import duty, renewal fees Encourage public, private firms to vary their office hour

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Long-term • • •

Introduce fees for vehicles entering congestion zones Policy encouragement for using public transportation Study possibility of constructing light rail

In an initial vision paper on ´Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project´ for managing traffic of the Valley presented to the National Planning Commission (NPC), the MoPPW has proposed various immediate and long-term measures to improve the worsening traffic woes in the Valley. MoPPW officials said they worked out the initial recommendations based on the opinions of the concerned stakeholders and observations made by the technical team. As per the latest government data, the number of vehicles in the capital has shot up to 444,700 in 2009 from 308,000 of 2005. Of them, motorcycles account for 74 percent of the total vehicles plying on the capital roads. "The initial vision paper is a part of our long-term vision to solve the ever worsening transport management in the capital city," a high level source at the MoPPW told myrepublica.com. He further added that the new measures had been taken mainly considering the projection that the number of vehicles in the capital would almost double to 750,000 by 2021. Under the short-term measures to fight public nuisance emanating from traffic jams, the report has recommended for a sharp rise in annual registration fees for all vehicles in Bagmati Zone. It has even suggested the government to encourage private and public institutions and organizations to vary their operation hours to spread peak traffic hours over longer periods. To reduce traffic in the core city areas, MoPPW has also suggested for relocation of traffic generating activities to sites outside of the core areas. It has also suggested the government to reduce the visitor parking spaces in the core city areas. The ministry argues that such reduction will discourage the private vehicles from entering the core city areas. The report also suggests the government to adopt strict requirements for obtaining driving license and enforce it effectively. Under the long-term measure, the report proposes the government to categorize different city areas as ´congestion zones´ and levy fees to vehicles entering into these zones, except to the public transport vehicles, taxis, emergency vehicles, green vehicles and bicycles. Keeping in view the importance of public vehicles in reducing traffic congestion, the report also recommends the government to adopt different policy measures to encourage people to use public vehicles instead of private cars and motorcycles. The report also suggests acquisition of land to construct new bus terminals at the periphery of the city for managing long distance vehicles and city buses. It has also

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pushed for the redevelopment of existing bus terminals with the involvement of private sector and arrangement of off-street bus stops. Under the long-term vision, the report moots a feasibility study for constructing a light rail mass transit system. The Ministry is completing the final study report for the project by the end of April next year. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

System unburdening Supreme Court The Supreme Court (SC) has found an effective way to clear the clutter. Two months after the implementation of the panel system, the apex court has disposed of over 60 percent of cases that had been piling up since 1994. The system was one of the several judicial reform programmes Chief Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhee introduced after his appointment seven months ago. “The panel system is one of the new interventions, which has been showing encouraging results,” said the outgoing Chief Justice. “Given the achievements of the past two months, the panel system is expected to soon unburden the court from heavy case loads.” According to SC statistics, of the 1000 cases backlogged for 18 years, 464 have been disposed, while 120 are on the judicial process. There are 11 justices in the panel working on the backlog cases. In an informal meeting with journalists, Rayamajhee also said he would soon come up with a book about his long experience in the judiciary. Rayamajhee is retiring on Dec. 12. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: December 8, 2009

NOC fires 3, suspends 24 others In the first mass-scale action against its staffers, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) board Monday sacked three employees and suspended 21 others on charges of involving in oil theft and pocketing about Rs 30 million over the last one year. The three employees receiving the axe are the ones working on daily wage and contract basic. Those suspended include six officer level staff and helpers involved in loading and unloading of fuels.

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“The action was taken after the NOC board, last week, instructed the management not to spare anyone involved in corruption,” Digambhar Jha, NOC managing director, told myrepublica. About a month ago, NOC board had suspended depot chief Dinesh Yadav and his deputy Prakash Sharma after a team formed to study sharp rise in oil leakage at the depot found them involved in embezzling the stock. The board had charged them of stealing fuel and reporting the loss as rise in technical loss, which are unavoidable, to the head office. The government, too, had formed a high-level probe team led by a joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS). Interestingly, the decision to sack and suspend employees has been taken before the committee submitted its report. Jha told myrepublica that the action was taken in a bid to start probe against individual staffers. “We hope to complete the investigation within 45 days. By then, we will know who are behind the wrongdoings and who are executing them,” Jha said, adding that further actions against them would again be taken as per the findings of the probe. To execute the action, NOC had first called all the staffers at the depot to the head office in Kathmandu and issued them the suspension letter. It had instantly deputed another set of technical staffers to fill the vacant posts. Meanwhile, sources at MoCS said the investigation team that the Ministry formed has completed necessary field study and would submit its report soon. Apart from the extent of anomalies, the team will also report on the situation of technical loss in other depots and make recommendations for streamlining NOC´s depot operations, particularly to plug leakages in the name of technical loss. Technical loss in petroleum trade is unavoidable but in the case at Amlekhgunj, Yadav and his deputy had inflicted 50 percent higher loss than the permitted limit in a year, which in monetary term was worth Rs 30 million. During the period, Yadav and his team had raised technical loss of petrol at depot to 0.8 percent (of total volume of oil handled by the depot) from 0.57 percent and diesel to 0.7 percent from 0.4 percent of the past. The variation appears negligible, but since Amlekhgunj handles some two-third of oil imports, it generates huge money, said officials. Because of this fact, top NOC management, Ministry officials and Ministers take special interest in appointing staff close to them at the depot. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY:

NAC gives clarifications to MoF Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) officials furnished nine-point clarifications to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Tuesday. The MoF last Wednesday sought clarifications from NAC officials on why they sent commitment money equivalent to Rs 57.3 million to the manufacturers of Airbus aircraft without following the relevant procedures. “The NAC officials furnished details on Tuesday as sought by MoF," said Tankamani Sharma, Joint-Secretary at MoF, adding, “We will hold a meeting Wednesday and reach a conclusion about NAC´s decision.” Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Sharad Singh Bhandari and NAC Executive Chairman Sugat Ratna Kansakar were summoned before the MoF to clarify why they released the commitment money to the aircraft manufacturer. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliamentary has also been investigating the controversy. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

Airbus Deal The government has requested envoys of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and European Union to ensure transparency in the purchase of two Airbus aircraft for the national flag carrier. Finance Minister Surendra Pandey held discussions with the envoys at his ministry on Tuesday. “We informed them that we are for a transparent purchase of the aircraft,” said Pandey. “Since these nations have their stakes in the Airbus industry, we requested their assistance.” French Ambassador Gilles Henry Garrault, German Ambassador Verena Graffin Van Roedern, Charge d’ Affaires of European Union Alexander Spachis and DCM of the U.K. Embassy Sophia were present in the meeting. Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Executive Chairman Sugat Ratna Kansakar has maintained that NAC has been directly dealing with Airbus SAS, ruling out involvement of any agent in the deal. During the meeting, the minister tried to learn from the envoys whether any agent was required in the deal and if so, the ministry needed to know of the agent and the commissions involved in the deal, according to an official.

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According to the official, the French ambassador asked what the government of Nepal would do if it found involvement of an agent in the deal. “Minister Pandey told him the government would directly discuss with the Airbus company,” said the official. “The MoF stand was to make everything transparent even if there was a liaison agent in Nepal.” MoF officials have also urged the envoys not to finance “others, except pilots or engineers in foreign junkets.” The ministry’s meeting with the envoys comes a day after it sought clarification from the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and NAC on the Airbus deal. On Monday, it had summoned Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Sharat Singh Bhandari and Kansakar regarding their controversial and hasty decision to dispatch “commitment money” to France-based Airbus SAS. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has also initiated a probe into the deal, saying that the purchase process was not carried with transparency. PAC members claim that that as much as Rs. 1.04 billion could exchange hands in commissions. Source: www.ekanitpur.com Date: December 8, 2009

Nepal important market for Yamaha India Yamaha Motor's CEO and MD, Yukimine Tsuji has termed Nepal a significant market for Yamaha. "Along with Colombia and the Philippines, Nepal is one of the important export markets for Yamaha India," said Tsuji. During his two-day visit to Nepal, Tsuji visited the Nepal distributor Morang Auto Works and two dealers, Rishik Automobiles and MSK Automobiles, to enhance his understanding of the customer touch points and interact with the dealers about the latest developments in Nepal. He rated the Yamaha showroom in Nepal as good as those in India. According to Tsuji, Yamaha registered a 52 percent growth in sales in Nepal in the first 11 months of 2009. "We have been getting excellent demand and our sales have been increasing consistently," said Tsuji. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: December 8, 2009

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MARKET:

Signs of revival for NEPSE After a bearish last week, the capital market seems to be gaining life as the Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) index went up by 6.17 points on Tuesday hitting 530.35. The NEPSE had gained points by 5.02 and 1.71 points on Monday and Sunday this week. The commercial and development banks' groups mainly helped NEPSE to rise Tuesday gaining 10.03 and 9.77 points respectively. The finance companies' group also saw its index shot by 1.38 percent. But, the group categorised as others suffered loss of 2.35 points. The stock market saw a trading of shares worth Rs.41.8 million on the third day of trading. The shareholders associated with Api Finance, Sanima Development Bank, Nepal Credit and Commerce Bank, Citizens Bank International and Sahayogi Development Bank made more earnings. But, the stocks of Crystal Finance, Standard Finance, General Finance, Lumbini Finance and Nepal Telecom were traded at a lower price than that of the previous day. The turnover of the promoter shares of the Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) remained highest with a total trading of Rs. 9.4 million. Amongst the public shares, BoK, Vibor Development Bank, Standard Charted Bank and Prime Commercial Bank topped in terms of turnover. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: December 8, 2009

CHCL posts highest maximum price Between November 8 to December 8, Chilime Hydro Power Co (CHCL) posted highest maximum share price amongst the three hydropower companies whose share were traded in NEPSE (Nepal Stock Exchange). The maximum share price of the CHCL in its 12 transaction days was Rs 1,019. The company witnessed the trading of 5,440 shares worth Rs 5,651,930. During the period of one month, the Butwal Power Co.Ltd (BPCL) witnessed Rs 924 as maximum share price while the same of National Hydro Power Co (NHPC) stood at Rs 84. The total transaction days of BPCL were 7 while it was 13 was for NHPC. The BPSL experienced a total transaction of 6,480 shares worth Rs 6,090,536.

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Similarly, the total number of share transaction of NHPC amounted to 26,618 worth Rs 2,153,634. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: December 8, 2009

Yet another fuel shortage Diesel shortage has hit consumers in the Kathmandu Valley already reeling under short supply of petrol. As a result, more than half the vehicles running with diesel engine, particularly public transportation, remained off the roads on Tuesday. A large number of passenger buses, school buses and vehicle owned by health and other institutions were seen queuing at the refilling stations for the supply. With fewer vehicles on the road, passengers complained that they have been forced to travel on heavily crowded vehicles. Petroleum dealers has blamed Nepal Oil Corporation´s (NOC) weak distribution system for the shortage. "NOC is not supplying fuel to Kathmandu from Amlekhgunj and supply made from Thankot is too small in quantity to meet normal daily requirement," said Linendra Pradhan, president of Bagmati Zonal Committee of Nepal Petroleum Dealers´ Association (NPDA). NOC records show it supplied only about 180 Kiloliters (KL) of petrol and 250 KL of diesel a day in the Valley from Thankot depot over this week. It has not distributed fuel to the Valley from Amlekhgunj depot, another key supplying point. “ "The volume pumped out now fall short of normal daily demand by 120 KL in case of petrol and by 100 KL in case of dies," admitted an NOC official. He argued that the problems NOC faced in imports due to tanker drivers strike over the last week were largely preventing it from pumping adequate supplies. "Mainly our stock of diesel at Amlekhgunj, from where we need to distribute fuel to major markets, has dropped to the lowest lev”l," said the official, preferring anonymity. As NOC is also importing mere half the normal quantity of petrol from Raxaul due to traffic jam and strict loading system adopted by the Indian Oil Corporation, it has stopped pumping out petrol to Kathmandu from Amlekhgunj, he added. However, dealers blamed the new depot chief in Amlekhgunj of intentionally not issuing fuel to the dealers in the Valley. In the past, dealers in the Valley were receiving about 84 KL of petrol and 96 KL of diesel from Amlekhgunj.

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Amid problems seen in the import of fuel and also rising differences between the officials in Amlekhgunj depot and head office, dealers anticipated that fuel shortage could go on, forcing consumers to face further hardship over the next one week. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

GENERAL:

German govt ready to help Nepal dispose obsolete pesticides The German government has expressed interest to help Nepal dispose obsolete pesticides stored in various places since many years, reports say. German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) officials have told Nepali authorities, they are ready to take the pesticides and dispose it safely in their country, if Nepal can collect all the pesticides in one point. We are looking for funds to collect them at one point, said a high-level official at environment ministry. About 74 tonnes of different pesticides like DDT are being stored in over a dozen different places including Amlekhgunj, Nepalgunj and Khumaltar. The pesticides are posing a threat to human lives as they are stored near human settlements. The ware house in Amlekhgunj, which also stores the largest amount of the pesticides, is just beside a school. For safe disposal, the chemicals need to be incinerated at temperatures of 1,200-1,500 degrees Celsius equipped with special Air Pollution Control Devices (APCD). Such a set up is not available in Nepal. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: December 8, 2009

Frequent strikes affect schools It´s not only the schools in rural backwaters, but also schools in the capital, which fail run classes for 220 days a year as stipulated by the Education Act-1971. While reasons behind hindrances in running classes in the remote regions are problems of livelihood and remoteness, government schools in Kathmandu fail to meet the criteria owing to frequent strikes. Schools, which are located in the central part of the capital, fare the worst.

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“Most government schools in Kathmandu do not open for more than 200 days,” Ramesh Prasad Gautam, headmaster of Padmodaya Higher Secondary School, says. “Even when schools open, student wings of various political parties often drive away our students to participate in rallies.” Although there is no actual data on how many days Kathmandu schools open a year on an average, almost no school in the central part of the valley runs more than 200 days. All five schools myrepublica.com randomly spoke to failed to meet the criteria last year. Some schools were ran classes for less than 180 days a year. “It is shocking that even schools in the capital are unable to meet the criteria,” says Janardan Nepal, under secretary at the Department of Education (DoE). Dhruba Raj Regmi, under secretary at the Ministry of Education (MoE), does not see much difference between government school in Karnali and Kathmandu. Regmi, who assisted a recent study, which revealed that Karnali schools run 137 days a year on an average, says, “Kathmandu schools are in an equally deplorable situation.” Frequent closures have also affected SLC results. Last year, success result of Shanti Bidya Griha School in the SLC examinations, declined to 46 percent. “Our school hardly opened for six months last year,” the school´s headmaster Mukunda Shrestha said The Education Act does not stipulate anything about punitive actions against schools that fail to meet the criteria to run classes for at least 220 days a year. The act only suggests the schools´ management committees to arrange for ´extra classes´. However, there is yet another problem. Management committees formed to oversee government schools generally consist of parents whose children go to private schools. Their utter indifference toward improving the quality of education is the major reason why most government schools do not arrange for ´extra classes´. “Members of management committees do not care for government schools their children do not go to,” education expert Dr. Bishnu Karki says. “Reform of management committees is one of the most neglected issues.” Dr Karki stressed on the need for formation of active and attentive management committees to arrange for extra classes in case the schools fail to meet the government-set criteria.

Schools disrupted for three days The Maoists in Birgunj forced the closure of schools and colleges for the last two days. On Sunday and Monday, the Maoists shut down all educational institutions protesting the Kailali incident. On Tuesday, the Tarai-Madhes Students´ Front (TMSF) disrupted classes in all schools and colleges protesting the Young Communist League´s (YCL) attack on

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R&D Economic Research & Business Development

their ´peaceful programs´ in Kathmandu. Situation remained tense for hours after students defied the strike. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: December 8, 2009

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