Foreign aid to be used to fund large projectsThe government will be using foreign aid to finance large infrastructure projects from the next fiscal year beginning mid-July, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said Wednesday.
The government will be using foreign aid to finance large infrastructure projects from the next fiscal year beginning mid-July, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said Wednesday.
Addressing the Lower House of the Legislative Parliament while presenting the principles and priorities of the forthcoming 2018-19 budget, Khatiwada said that grants would be utilized for the development of large physical and social infrastructure, export promotion, capacity building and technology transfer as the federal government will have to allocate a large chunk of the budget for critical infrastructure.
Khatiwada said that INGOs and NGOs would be taken on board the government’s prioritized programmes as partners. “Foreign grants will be used for prioritized areas to develop the country’s economic capacity and thus gradually reduce dependency on them.”
Outlining the priorities of the upcoming budget, he said that the construction of roads of strategic importance, urban infrastructure, expressways, railways and airports would be accorded top priority in the budget that will be presented on May 29.
The government will come up with separate laws to address the cost and time overruns being faced by almost all projects and quality assurance issues in completed projects, he said. “One of the key priorities of the budget is to create a fair and competitive market after ending cartels in the public transport system.”
The budget will also introduce programmes to help achieve the targets in the Sustainable Development Goals put forth by the United Nations. To this end, adequate funds will be made available to increase the access of the general people to food security, pollution free environment, safe drinking water and sanitation.
Khatiwada also said that the government was committed to including all Nepalis in the health insurance system. “Development of entrepreneurship, capacity building of workers and proper management of foreign employment have been accorded priority in the budget.”
He added that the government would also focus on maintaining fiscal discipline by strengthening the budgetary system. High economic growth, macroeconomic stability and effective measures to check the widening trade deficit and price hikes will also be among the key priorities in the upcoming budget, Khatiwada said.
The government has also aimed to launch a contribution-based social security scheme and expand its reach. “The social security scheme will be extended to the informal sector to,” he said.
Maintaining proper coordination between irrigation and agricultural projects, speeding up reconstruction, enhancing the capacity of the local level, removing red tapism in government services, increasing people’s access to renewable energy and reforming the tax administration are among the programmes that will be included in the upcoming budget, the finance minister said.