Nepal, a landlocked country aspiring to graduate from a Least Developed Country status, stands highly vulnerable to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. Heedful of its vulnerabilities, the Government of Nepal has enforced a nationwide lockdown and activated its federal, provincial and local level mechanisms to respond to the crisis. While there is an urgent need to strengthen the existing health system to handle the situation in case of any sudden surge of outbreak, standardize the quarantine facilities and provide immediate relief to the most-affected, equally important is to help the country mitigate the socio-economic impacts and prepare for a longer-term recovery.
WHO has reported over 15,784 COVID-19 cases as of 05-07- 2020. Meanwhile, the secondary impact of the global pandemic is huge and it is already taking a serious toll on an economy that relies heavily on remittances, imports fueled by remittances, informal labor, and tourism revenues.
The fact that Nepal’s economy is largely dependent on remittance (25% of GDP), tourism (8% of GDP), agriculture (26% of GDP) and imports of essential items and supplies from outside has made the poor households and the often unskilled workers, including returnee migrants, particularly vulnerable to income losses.
Given that most of these people are outside the official social safety net, they are likely to bear the brunt of the sudden halt or slowdown of economic activities in Nepal.
Three in every five employees of both formal and informal micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nepal have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a study commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal.
‘Rapid Assessment of Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Nepal’ – conducted by the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) has revealed that the MSMEs across Nepal have witnessed a fall of 95 percent in average monthly revenue and that they can sustain barely for around two months in the absence of external support measures .
Stating that the impact on labor differs by the nature of their job contract, the study revealed that permanent workers have faced either pay cuts or unpaid hiatus, backed by strong labor laws that discourage layoffs. Similarly, seasonal and informal workers who represent 60 percent of the labor force in Nepal have faced job cuts and losses after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nepal some two months ago.
Nepal’s projected pre-COVID GDP growth rate of 8.5 percent will decline to well below 2.5 percent in 2019-2020, and severely constrain a rebound in 2020-2021.
The COVID-19 crisis has rendered temporary workers, internal migrants, day laborers the most vulnerable based on income, and their ability to sustain through the slowdown. Not being able to find an alternative source of income is judged to be the main impact of the crisis on those already vulnerable or otherwise engaged in precarious work. Similarly, the study showed that the crisis has affected women, especially from lower income groups, differently from men as women typically work in industries which are comparatively less tele-commutable such as hospitality, wholesale and retail, keeping them out of work. The survey results indicated that 28 percent of men lost their jobs during the lockdown, compared to 41 percent of females.
Embracing these facts, Rotary Club of Dhulikhel-Nepal has planned for Social and Economic Recovery Plan to support people in need that has been adversely affected by Covid-19.
The World Food Programme projects that 135 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger or worse, while another 130 million are on the edge of starvation. And Nepal is no more exception. Though lockdown is slightly loosen in Nepal due to lack of mobility of local vehicles, no economic activities and drying up the saving, people are struggling and case will be more severe in very near future.
Purpose Program for Economic Recovery-Please click the project to view details:
Bank Details For Support
Account Name: ROTARY CLUB OF DHULIKHEL (DHP)
Account No: 00501030253192
Bank Name: Nepal Investment Bank Limited
Bank Address: Durbar Marg, P.O. Box: 3412
Swift Code : NIBLNPKT