Nepal cancels 2-day weekly holiday after month-long trial

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Nepal will resume a one-day weekly holiday this week after experimenting with Saturday-Sunday holidays for a month, an official has said.

“Two-day public holidays in a week appeared to be impractical in case of Nepal,” Fanindra Mani Pokharel, spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, told Xinhua. “So the decision was rolled back after experimenting with it for a month.”

He said the government has to return to a single-day public holiday because two-day holidays had affected its service delivery to the people. Many government and private offices had defied the government’s rule on two-day holidays, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Now a one-day public holiday in a week will be observed on Saturday,” said Pokharel. “The government offices will run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.”

The cabinet decided to add Sunday as a public holiday from May 15 with a view to cutting the consumption of fuels, whose prices have skyrocketed in recent months.

Fuels are the largest import item for Nepal, accounting for nearly 16 per cent of the total merchandise imports in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year that began in mid-July 2021, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre.

Rising imports depleted Nepal’s foreign exchange reserves to 9.28 billion US dollars in mid-May, down from 11.75 billion dollars in mid-July 2021, according to Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of the country.

In the late 1990s, Nepal had experimented with two-day weekly holidays with a view to increasing the efficiency and productivity of government employees. The decision was then rolled back a few months later.

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