Mind the gap
FROM ISSUE #45 (01 JUNE 2001 - 07 JUNE 2001) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Government spending has continued to increase, taking the budget deficit up by 35 percent to Rs 8.41 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year (until end-April). The increase is mainly due to salaries and benefits for government employees and security costs. The government spent Rs 44 billion in the last nine months, of which about 29 percent went to meet regular expenses and just 14 percent was spent on development activities. According to the Central Bank's monthly economic report, exports have continued to grow-by 21.5 percent in the first three-quarters of this fiscal year-but have slowed down compared to the 37.6 percent growth attained in the same period last year. The bank also reports drops in Nepal's traditional exports-readymade garments, woollen carpets and jewellery. Pashmina sales in end April were Rs 6.28 billion but Nepal Rastra Bank says exports have declined since. Balancing the slowdown in exports, imports grew by just 6.9 percent to Rs 85.11 billion, compared to the 28.6 percent growth in imports in the same period last year. Foreign exchange reserves at the end of April were Rs 102.87 billion, of which 79.4 percent was convertible currency.