Banks to reopen from Sunday with limited staff and reduced hoursGovernment offices will also resume service with a bare minimum number of employees.
Most banks will be reopening from Sunday after Nepal Rastra Bank on Friday said they could resume service but not to call more than one-third of their staff to work.
The central bank said there was a need for caution to prevent potential virus infections while slowly unfettering the economy and allowing businesses to resume. “In order to provide service, they can work remotely from home and attend office in shifts,” Nepal Rastra Bank said.
The central bank’s directive came two days after the cabinet on Wednesday decided to allow banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, securities related organisations and cooperatives to get back to work with a maximum of one-third of their employees providing essential services.
“As president of the Nepal Bankers’ Association, I have issued a notice asking commercial banks to reopen all their branches as far as possible,” said Bhuvan Dahal. The association comprises chief executive officers of the country's commercial banks.
According to him, the head offices of most banks have remained open despite the lockdown, but most branches were shuttered. “I think most of the bank branches will open from Sunday for two-three hours a day,” he said. “They can provide services like deposit and withdrawal, remittance, foreign exchange and letter of credit.”
As per the central bank’s directive, banks and financial institutions should make sure the staff receive sanitisers, masks, disinfectants, thermal scanners and gloves, among other materials.
They should not allow crowds to gather at the offices, and encourage their customers to use electronic transactions, according to the central bank’s directive.
The banks and financial institutions can apply to the District Administration Office for travel passes for a maximum of one-fourth of their staff vehicles.
As per the cabinet decision, government offices and public enterprises have also been allowed to resume service with a bare minimum number of staff working in shifts.
“Issuing a directive to government offices, we have asked them to refrain from calling more than one-third of their indispensable employees,” said Basanta Adhikari, spokesperson for the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.
“Another intention of the government decision is to make the office chief responsible for managing the staff in a secure way during the lockdown.”
According to Adhikari, the government has discouraged opening the offices to provide service to the public like during normal times, but the office chief can perform internal office work.
“For example, Land Revenue Offices can process the documents on file to allow them to provide prompt service when they reopen to the public,” he said.