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'Govt not in situation to lift lockdown'



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By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Apr. 24:Minister for Finance Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada Thursday said that the government was not in a situation to instantly lift or relax the nationwide lockdown after April 27.
"Reopening our border points, and loosening the lockdown depends upon our neigbhouring country's risk factor of the virus and our own internal preparation and action plan taken to contain the virus and its transmission," Minister Dr Khatiwada said while speaking at a press conference organised to make the Cabinet decisions of April 20 public.
Dr Khatiwada, who is also the government spokesperson and looking after the portfolio of the Ministry for Communication and Information Technology, said the nationwide lockdown was not imposed by the government due to the country's own problem but due to alarming global situation created by the virus.
Minister Dr Khatiwada said that the economic sector of the country had been hit hard due to the prolonged lockdown and Nepal was not alone to face such a situation.
The government in its upcoming policy and programme, before introducing the budget of the new fiscal year on May 28 (Jestha 15), would announce

different short- and mid-term policies to address the affected economic sectors of the country like agriculture, industrial and business sectors, Minister Dr Khatiwada said.
When asked about the government’s next plan to tackle the problem of the economic sector, Minister Dr Khatiwada said the first and foremost focus of the country was the safety and security of the countrymen. "We can revive and regain the economic damages caused due to this global COVID-19 pandemic in the country, but people's safety and security are the prime objective of the government," Minister Dr Khatiwada said.
Minister Dr Khatiwada said that the government would prepare the new budget by arranging and searching additional areas of financial sector as revenue collection situation of the country had worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, limited government employees at Finance Ministry are working on the new budget, he said.
The import of essential goods, fuels and medicines has not been hampered as of today, he said. "We have medicines in stock for three to four months," he said. Kathmandu consumes 1/3 of the total imports of the country, he said. There are some problems related to the unorganised sector (labourers) who are currently facing some sort of problem. But the federal government has instructed the local bodies to address the problem of labourers and their family, he said.
According to the federal government's information, so far, 600,000 people from the unorganizsd sector (daily wage earners) have received relief package.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet meeting held on April 20 took various decisions. Some of them included formation of a negotiation committee to receive a loan assistance of USD 100 million to be provided by International Development Association of the World Bank and tabulation of electricity related Bill at the Federal Parliament for its amendment and integration. The government has given agreement in principle to prepare a draft of a Bill for Road Board. The government has also decided to deploy land surveyors for mapping land in Mustang, Kavrepalanchowk and Susta Bardaghat area in Nawalparasi that had gone missing from the map earlier.
The Cabinet meeting also gave an approval to conduct the Organisation and Management survey of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
The government has given authority to assistant CDOs of 77 districts to investigate and forward cases which fall under punishable crime related Public Health Act. The Cabinet extended the term of the High Level Commission formed to see into Nepal Children's Organisation, whose term was going to expire on April 24.  

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