Article – Anup N. Amatya & Associates, professional Financial, Business & Management Consultants
One of the best models for Macro-Economic analysis is PESTEL.
Any business, including a Financial and Business Management Consultant, is directly impacted by the political environment under which it operates. E.g., Nepal was mired in a Maoist Insurgency for a decade from 1996-2006. Consequently, our economic development was adversely affected, and the business community were afraid to invest more. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Nepal averaged 4.48% from 1993 until 2017, reaching a record low of 0.10% in 2001. Source: TRADING ECONOMICS, 2020, https://tradingeconomics.com/nepal/gdp-growth-annual/.
Devastating earthquakes of April 2015 caused damages of around US$ 7 billion as per the estimates. GDP growth rate was just 0.6% in 2015. Moreover, the private sector suffered losses around US$ 1.96 billion due to the blockade at the trade entry points with India amidst agitations in the Southern Tarai plains following the promulgation of Country’s new constitution. It caused a severe shortage of essentials, especially fuel, shooting inflation rates near 10% in 2016. Source1: Nepal: Inflation rate from 1984 to 2021, Statista, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/422594/inflation-rate-in-nepal/. Source2: Hemant Ojha, The India-Nepal Crisis, THE DIPLOMAT, published on 27/11//2015, https://thediplomat.com/2015/11/the-india-nepal-crisis/.
Businesses were facing grave economic pressures due to the sharp decline in consumer spending, including that from tourism and the shortage of fuel and raw materials due to the blockade.
The Economic outlook improved in FY 2017 after easing of trade with India, reconstruction efforts and good monsoon with GDP growth at 7.5% as per the World Bank. Tourism arrivals touched near a million providing a welcome relief to businesses.
Nepal is a young country with 51.93% at or under 24 years and 36.58% between 25-54 years with a Median age of 24.1 years. The population growth rate is 1.16% (2017 est.) with a life expectancy of 71 years, indicating the trend towards an Ageing society. Source: Nepal Demographic Profile 2019, Index Mundi, last Updated on December 7, 2019, https://www.indexmundi.com/nepal/demographics_profile.html/.
Despite having a young population, the labour market is facing shortages, especially in labour-intensive sectors like agriculture, infrastructure and even trading due to the current trend of people seeking employment abroad. It also means new opportunities in Old-Age Health Care and Old –Age Homes, for instance, since we lack government support programs as is the case in the developed economies. It offers new opportunities for Financial and Business Management Consultants like us in helping the investors devise future business strategies.
Businesses all over the world are taking advantage of a rapidly growing e-commerce. In our case as well, the mobile phone is currently used by about 85.8% of households in Nepal. However, with a handful of local e-commerce operators, online e-commerce is still quite negligible primarily due to the lack of secure Payment Gateway infrastructure and also a restriction on Forex transactions by our Central Bank. However, there is an opportunity in the future with better internet penetration and consumer awareness.
Businesses, including Financial and Business Management Consultants, need to minimise their environmental impact for the sake of future generations. E.g., by discouraging Plastic carry bags in stores and using renewable energy sources such as solar power where possible. Additionally, factories must control pollution and install pollution control technology to save the environment and also to ensure their long-term survival and success since this would reflect positively on their brand image.
There are positive as well as negative implications and challenges to businesses from various government laws and regulations. E.g., the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India, which accounted for 58% of all our imports in 2017, would increase the cost of our imports due to the increase in transportation, insurance and other service charges, including IT while transiting from India.
The government and the private sector of Nepal continually lobbied for the removal of GST on these services, arguing that these are the Service Exports of India. Finally, Ministry of Finance, India announced on 30th September 2017, removal of GST on the supply of services to Nepal and Bhutan against payments made in the Indian currency as was the practice earlier, and not only for the payments made in convertible foreign currency.
Businesses must thus try to analyse the external environment and formulate strategies to take advantage of opportunities and try to mitigate potential risks to the extent possible.
These are the areas where professional Financial, Business & Management Consultants such as Anup N. Amatya & Associates could help to formulate strategies to mitigate risks to the extent possible.
Author: Anup Narsingh Amatya