The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nepal expanded by 7.50 % in 2016 as compared to the previous year. The annual growth rate of the GDP in Nepal averages at 4.38% and reached an all-time high of 8.60 % in 1993 and a record low of 0.10 % in 2001.
Export and Import
Nepal is the 150th largest export economy in the world. In 2015, Nepal exported goods worth $909 million and imported goods worth $6.61 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of $5.7 billion. In 2015, the GDP of Nepal was $21.2 billion and its GDP per capita was $2.46 thousand.The top exports of Nepal are flavoured water, knotted carpets, non-retail synthetic staple fibre yarn, nutmeg and fruit juice. Its top imports are refined petroleum, silver, planes, helicopters, semi-finished iron and rice.
Nepal witnessed a trade deficit with all its SAARC trading partners except Afghanistan in 2015-16. According to the data of the Department of Customs (DoC), the country is gradually losing its trade surplus. In the last fiscal year, the country had witnessed trade deficit worth Rs.713.13 billion. As compared to the previous fiscal, import and export growth deteriorated by 0.57 % and 19.49% in this fiscal. As two-third of the country’s trade takes place with India, the SAARC region automatically covers the majority of the country’s total trade volume. 62% of the yearly trade conducted by Nepal is with various SAARC partners.
The country was enjoying trade surplus with Bangladesh till 2013-14 but trade deficit with Bangladesh surged by a Rs.3.52 billion in the year 2015-16. The country has also been facing a high trade deficit with India which stood at Rs.442.82 billion in the last fiscal. Similarly, Nepal’s trade with Pakistan is also in a deficit of Rs.223.78 million. The country imported goods worth Rs.267.27 million from Pakistan against exports of Rs.43.49 million in fiscal 2015-16. Trade deficit with Sri Lanka has also been rising for Nepal. The country imported goods worth Rs.203.58 million and exported goods worth Rs.3.34 million to Sri Lanka in the last fiscal. Nepal has been facing trade deficits with Bhutan and Maldives as well.
Nepal has recently been attracting some FDI in hydropower and in the manufacturing sector. Dangote Cement Nepal plans to start production within three years with an investment of $550 million. Nepal has endorsed a $360 million FDI proposal made by China’s Hongshi Holdings to establish a cement plant in Nepal in partnership with Nepal’s Shiva Cement. In recent years, India and China have been eyeing Nepal’s hydropower sector and are both lining up investment for this sector.
This Himalayan state has its share of challenges. It has a high rate of poverty. Health and sanitation facilities need to be improved. Education remains highly limited. Unemployment is high. Housing is a problem and infant mortality rate is also quite high in Nepal. The country needs appropriate and sustainable economic activities and more industries. It has a high crime rate and is notorious for trafficking, prostitution and other criminal activities. Government services are highly limited and there is a lack of proper implementation of government projects.