A total of 92 km road has been blacktopped while a 132 km length has been graveled in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. During last year, a 60-km road was blacktopped and 401-km gravelled. The Economic Survey Report tabled in parliament Thursday by the government states that 24 motorable bridges have been constructed this year.
On the power front, a total of 18.49 MW has been connected to the national grid while 368 km of transmission line has been laid during the period, the survey report said. Though hydropower generation remained static, peak hour power demand spiked by 940 MW to reach 1385 MW in the eight months while 50,000 new electricity subscribers were added.
Governments’ performance in priority sectors like energy and road infrastructure this year has been weakest in over a decade and this has been blamed to the earthquakes and 20-week-long economic blockade by India. The report has projected that the GDP growth rate this year will contract to 0.77 percent, although the target was 6 percent.
New micro hydropower plants generated 1095 KW, and a total of 14,351 new biogas plants and 23,994 solar power systems (large or small) were installed adding 18.49 MW, in the eight months.
1.1 MILLION NEW CELL PHONE SUBSCRIBERS
An additional 1.1 million people were connected to mobile telephony this year pushing the number of total telephone customers in the country to 29.2 million. The report estimated that Nepal had a total of 27.5 million cell phone users by the end of the eight months of this fiscal year. Likewise, about 2,000 people subscribed PSTN telephone service in the eight months taking the total number of PSTN subscribers to 846,940. Nepal Telecom has the largest number of telephone users at 13.8 million.
The telephone connections per 100 individuals increased to 110.25 from 106.08 of last year. Likewise, GPRS service subscribers increased by 6 percent to reach 11.7 million while ADSL internet users increased by 18 percent to 160,006 in the eight months.
INDUSTRIAL FIRM REGISTRATIONS DOWN
Industrial firm registration figures declined by 54 percent in the first eight months as only 219 industrial firms were permitted to invest during the past eight months. The 219 firms committed to invest Rs 42.69 billion and create 9,567 jobs. But the survey does not mention the real investment figure. Likewise, the govenrment spent Rs 46 billion in capital investment or 25 percent of the target, during the period.
Indian blockade particularly brought down the import of petroleum products for 20 weeks and people economized on fuels, while use of firewood increased leaps and bounds. But this is not reflected in the survey report. The report has estimated that firewood use of the eight months would be equivalent to 5,509 tons of fossil fuel against last fiscal year’s 8264 tons of fossil fuel.
Those involved in preparing the report appear oblivious of the fact that fuel import remained disrupted for 20 weeks this year. Nepal Rastra Bank’s eight months statistics says that import of petroleum products declined by 58.4 percent to Rs 30.84 billion in eight months of this fiscal year compared to the same period of last fiscal year. It is clear that the decline in oil imports this year has not been included in the report.