American Kantipur 2: Money and Dashain

Over the past week or so, while talking to family back in Nepal and wishing “Happy Dashain” we kept hearing about the Nepali currency shortage. As part of the holiday, many families (such as P and U) send money home, and families are unable to retrieve the electronic cash transfers due to lack of bank notes. So when I read the news this morning, I thought I’d share:

(you can read the article in its original format on the BBC)

NEPAL ACTS ON CURRENCY SHORTAGE

The authorities in Nepal say they will introduce measures to alleviate a shortage of bank notes in the country.

Lining up for cash

Nepalis have been queuing at ATMs in hope of getting cash.

As a result of the shortage, banks have limited how much cash they dispense and some businesses have been unable to pay employees and suppliers.

The finance ministry says it will introduce old but flawed bank notes that were printed but never circulated.

The crisis threatens to disrupt the country as it celebrates its biggest annual festival, Dashain.

Increased demand for rupees during the religious festival has exacerbated the shortage.

Long queues were seen at ATMs across the capital.

The BBC’s Joanna Jolly in Kathmandu says that although credit cards are readily available, most Nepalis rely on cash for everyday purchases.

Bank governors blame the crisis on a late consignment of new bank notes from France.

The French company contracted to print Nepalese rupee notes is two months late in delivering most of them, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The government has also said that it plans to airlift some of the late consignment to Nepal.

The finance ministry has formed a committee to investigate why the shortage happened, our correspondent says.

Many commentators suggest poor financial management since the end of Nepal’s 10-year civil conflict has contributed to the shortfall.

Dashain is a 15-day Hindu festival marking the triumph of good over evil. During the annual festival Nepalis return to their home villages with gifts and foods for relatives.

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