NEPAL: The Nepalese Government is considering to declare a two-day holiday in public sector offices this month to reduce fuel consumption, as the country battles a foreign exchange crisis and the price of petroleum products sky-rockets.
The Central Bank of Nepal and Nepal Oil Corporation advised the government to give two days government holiday, Cabinet sources said.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which is going on for over a month now, has resulted in a major spike in global oil prices as Russian oil in under sanction. Other major oil producers Iran and Venezuela are also facing sanctions in selling petroleum.
Tourism-dependent Nepal is experiencing a slump in its foreign reserves after the Covid-19 pandemic brought international travel to a halt. The advise to the government sees significant savings for Nepal Oil Corporation which is selling fuel at subsidised rates and suffering huge losses at the present global rates, officials said.
Government Spokesperson Gyanendra Bahadur Karki told the media that the government has so far not taken any decision in this regard. The proposal has come up but it is under consideration, he said.
To deal with the forex crisis, the Nepal government has urged Nepalese nationals living abroad to open dollar accounts in banks in the country and make investments.
Nepal has also tightened imports of expensive cars, gold and other luxurious goods to maintain its falling reserves.
Karki said the government is also looking into whether it can lower the duties on imported vehicles and other such goods.