FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 CRISIS
Resiliency, Unity and Timely Action
1. Nepal, along with the rest of the world is currently engaged in the battle against Coronavirus-19 pandemic. It has affected people globally irrespective of their cast, creed, class, gender, race, ethnicity and nationality. People involved in tourism sector, migrant workers, small and medium scale enterprises and daily wage workers have especially been hit hard. The novel Corona virus, if left unchecked, will bring death and devastation in a short span of time. The likes of which the world has not witnessed since the Spanish flu in 1920’s.
2. Due to the impacts of corona virus observed globally, the global economy is expecting to shrink by 3 percent in 2020. Nepal’s GDP growth rate is expected to decline to 1-3%. COVID-19’s long-term consequences could be devastating for Nepal. A recent World Bank report predicted a severe drop in GDP growth over the next three fiscal years. The risk of increasing poverty ratio is high and is likely to increase further in the incoming years. The Nepalese economy is being hit simultaneously on multiple fronts including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, transportation, trade, small and medium scale industries, in addition to increasing unemployment and a sharp decline in remittances. hitherto a significant source of revenue for keeping the economy floating.
3. The major labor destinations for Nepali migrant workers are also in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report by International Labor Organization said that the pandemic was expected to wipe out 6.7% of work hours globally in the second quarter of 2020. This is equivalent to 195 million full time workers. Nepalese migrant workers will also be affected from this. Nepalese migrant workers sent remittance equivalent to about USD 8.79 billion in 2018/2019. Nepal is the 19th largest receiver of remittance in the world. When compared to the country’s total GDP it is equivalent to 26% of the Nepal’s total GDP. This would have a severe impact on overall consumption in the country. The Nepali migrant workers have remained stranded in foreign destinations.
4. The wholesale and retail sector has also been severely affected largely because of the drastic downfall in imports from China. This sector contributes 14.37% to the economy. In this situation Nepal needs to import from other countries which will result in the product being costlier and leads to a high risk of general inflation. Apart from this, the uncertainty and fear from COVID-19 crisis inevitably has produced anxiety and poses mental health challenges.
5. At this critical juncture, we need to see compensating measures in effective implementation including prudent monetary/fiscal policy, stimulus packages, and job creation activities. We need to disregard differences among us and work together cohesively in a coordinated manner to prevent further transmission of the virus across the country and provide the best medical services for those who need them.
6. The flow of information from various formal and informal channels about the spread, measures for protection and treatment and consequences of this pandemic should be factual and transparent to avoid any unnecessary panic.
7. Covid-19 crisis has generated enormous solidarity especially in evacuating citizens of different countries along with its own citizens from various countries, supplying and sharing medicines and equipment, and in strengthening relationship with other countries. The harmony resulted could be utilized in improving future political and economic relations between countries.
8. The crisis on the other hand has also created challenges to multilateralism. The role of UN System including WHO has been questioned and undermined, but organizations like WHO, the World Bank and IMF have played a crucial role in responding to the present health and economic crisis. Smaller countries need them. Furthermore, increasing global connectivity also demands for a global response to handle crisis like this. The forms may change but the multilateralism must be strengthened further.
9. The Council extends its sincere appreciation for the works being done by medical experts, paramedical staffs, personnel of security agencies, staff of other government and non-agencies and so on. The Council believes that the pandemic can and should be contained with efforts from all of us. The Council stands ready to extend our support in this task during this crucial hour.