By Our Correspondent Panauti, Sept. 30: Finance Minister Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada has stressed the qualitative growth of the banking sector. “The banks and financial institutions (BFIs) have failed to make qualitative growth even though we have witnessed their quantitative growth over the years,” he said while inaugurating Abhiyan Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Limited in Panauti on Monday. In the last two years, the branches of banks and financial institutions have reached 8,850. The numbers of branches of BFIs had reached 5,500 in 2017 in 80 years since the introduction of the banking service in Nepal in 1937. So far, around 16/17 local levels out of 753 still lack commercial banks, he said, adding that the government had targeted to set up commercial banks in all local units within the current fiscal year. He said that economic activities have been growing across the country following the expansion of BFIs branches and increment in their transaction. Stating that a few people blamed that the economic activities were shrinking, he said that banks and financial institutions would not provide credit if economic activities got paralysed. He said that the saving amount has increased by 55 per cent due to the expansion of branches of banks in the rural areas. Minister Dr. Khatiwada urged the microfinance to pay attention to provide access of finance to a million people who are still under poverty line. A small investment is a must for the poor people to reduce poverty because investment of the microfinance will be a big help to eradicate poverty, he said. The poverty rate has been declining by one per cent annually due to the contribution of the microfinance, he said, adding that microfinance could contribute to reduce the poverty by 2/3 per cent from one per cent. “The BFIs and microfinance should understand the limitation of the government for employment creation. The government has limitationin in job creation in the country,” he said. Former Minister Hari Prasad Parajuli said that the microfinance companies were contributing to change the livelihood of women. State Assembly Member of State-3 Chandra Bahadur Lama drew the attention of Minister Khatiwada over the double tax citing that the locals were facing problems due to the double taxation. Deputy Mayor of Panauti Municipality Geeta Banjara said that the microfinance companies could help uplift the livelihood of the rural women. Chairman of Abhiyan Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Limited Baburam Thapa said that they had a plan to expand its working areas to 45 districts within five years. Currently, it has been working only in 10 districts.