7- 13 November 2014 #731

Banking on agriculture

BBC Nepali Service, 3 November

The Agriculture and Water Resources Committee of the Legislative-Parliament on Sunday announced a working procedure on low-interest agricultural loans for youngsters. Young Nepalis willing to invest in agri-business can now apply for a maximum Rs 10 million loan at a subsidised interest rate of six per cent.

Those between 21-45 years are eligible to get agricultural soft loans at the subsidised rate. The government will pay four per cent of the 10 per cent interest rate to the banks on such loans. This is a government initiative to attract young people towards agriculture, to address growing rate of youth unemployment and migration of young Nepalis to foreign countries.

The initiaitve issued by the Ministry of Finance through Nepal Rastra Bank, identifies vegetable and fruit production and animal husbandry among others as eligible areas for subsidised farm loans.

According to committee chairman Gagan Thapa, although many issues were discussed on Sunday, the concerned ministry and banks had raised concern over not being consulted during the preparation of the new government initiative.

“Unless we are fully satisfied with the proposed programs, they will not be implemented. Decisions will be made following discussions on Friday,” he said.

The committee is all set to investigate the inititiave during the implementation phase.

“We will be submitting a report to the committee within three months and if any irregularities are found while issuing loans or people can’t get loans easily, we will make necessary amendments,” Thapa clarified.