By Our Correspondent
Surkhet, Mar. 27: A study conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has found that the financial access status in Karnali Province is very weak.
The report showed that of the seven provinces of Nepal, Karnali and Sudurpashchim Province have the weakest access to finance.
The report made public by the Nepal Rastra Bank, Surkhet on Friday said that there are more than 10,000 financial institutions in Nepal but only 444 in Karnali.
The NRB conducted the study in Dolpa, Humla, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Rukum West, Mugu, Dailekh and Salyan of Karnali.
Assistant Director of NRB, Surkhet Purna Bahadur Maurati Nepali said that a total of 444 financial institutions, including 195 class A, 19 class B, three class C and 227 class D financial institutions are present in Karnali.
Most financial institutions are concentrated in the provincial capital Surkhet. There are 135 in Surkhet and only 12 in Humla.
After Surkhet, there are 74 financial institutions in Salyan, 54 in Dailekh and 47 in Rukum West. As a result, the presence of financial institutions is more accessible in urban areas than remote. There are 12 financial institutions in Humla, 13 in Mugu, 15 in Dolpa, 26 in Kalikot and 36 in Jumla.
According to the study, the financial institutions have collected Rs. 49.31 billion in deposits and invested loans of Rs. 55.46 billion in Karnali.
The provincial capital Surkhet also has more deposits and loan investments.
In Surkhet, Rs. 19.05 billion deposits have been collected and Rs. 33.57 billion loans have been disbursed, said assistant director Nepali.
The lowest deposits were at Rs. 1.90 billion and loans at Rs. 0.49 billion in Dolpa. The report showed that Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan and Rukum West are also more to deposit collection and credit investment.
Only 82 ATMs are operated by financial institutions in Karnali.
According to the study, there are 483,081 mobile banking users, 9,968 internet banking users, 211,328 debit card users and 1,366 credit card users.
The users are more in Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan and Rukum West while they are less in Himalayan districts. The study found that around 15 per cent of people in the province have not yet opened a bank account.
Similarly, only 27 per cent have taken loans from financial institutions and 72 per cent have not taken loans yet. According to the study, it has become difficult to get a loan due to various hassles and lengthy processes.
It has been found that most of the loans are taken in business in Karnali. After that, loans are being taken for the purchase of land, agriculture and animal husbandry and education.
In addition, the report showed that it takes a lot of time and expense for the general public to reach a financial institution. It has been found that it takes two and a half hours to 13 hours to reach financial institutions while it costs Rs. 483 to Rs. 8,000.
Deputy Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Dr. Neelam Dhungana Timalsina said the study has clearly shown the need for additional financial institutions in Karnali.
She said that the NRB had studied the situation of financial access in Karnali assuming that it was weak.
She said that it was necessary to impart financial knowledge along with financial access to the province.