FinMin says budget inclusive, oriented towards prosperityFinance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada has stressed the need of emphasising on effective implementation of the budget.
Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada has stressed the need of emphasising on effective implementation of the budget.
Addressing the concerns raised by lawmakers in the Lower House of the federal parliament on Sunday, the finance minister said that the budget was directed towards achieving inclusive development that would lead the country towards socialism through prosperity.
Minister Khatiwada’s statement has come amid concerns that the budget had failed to fulfill the aspiration of the general public and that it was against the spirit of the ruling party’s election manifesto. The government had unveiled Rs1.31 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 last week.
“The budget for the upcoming fiscal is oriented towards fulfilling desire of general people,” Khatiwada maintained, while addressing Parliament. He said the budget would give a push to the country’s economy through the government’s policies and programmes and discourage corruption that has escalated in recent days through good governance.
Khatiwada also dismissed claims made by lawmakers that the budget is centralised and does not live up to the spirit of federalism. The allocation to the provincial and local level authorities have been designated in line with the rights permitted by the constitution, he told Parliament. The finance minister, however, admitted that the allocation of resources to the provincial and local units was relatively low for the upcoming fiscal as the newly-adopted mechanism does not possess spending capacity at the moment. “The concerns will be addressed in the next budget,” he assured.
Claiming that it would not be difficult to achieve the economic growth of 8 percent in the upcoming fiscal year, Khatiwada said the major development projects—hydropower, drinking water—and productive industries would help achieve the target. Earlier, lawmakers from the main opposition Nepal Congress (NC) and other political parties termed the budget to be vague. NC leaders also accused the government of trying to control the country’s economy through the budget.
According to NC leader Prakash Man Singh, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year has given the outlook of a state controlled economy. “The budget brought by powerful government has given pessimism to the people,” Singh said. Accusing the government of implementing democratic centralisation by bringing together several authorities under the prime minister, he said, “the budget seems to complement it”.
Speaking on the occasion, NC leader Gagan Thapa said the budget lacked clarity, guidance towards prosperity, courage and creativity. The budget has failed to live up to the spirit of federalism and that there is no clarity on environment for foreign investment, he added.
The NC leader also criticised Minister Khatiwada for being unable to discontinue allocation of budget to the lawmakers under the constituency development programmes. The finance minister admitted on the first day of discussion that he had released Rs40 million for each constituency under the Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme under pressure. This budget has merged two previously implemented programmes—Constituency Infrastructure Special Programme (CISP) to be implemented through directly-elected lawmakers and the Constituency Development Programme (CDP) to make it Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme. “The Finance Minister couldn’t resist pressure. It is not necessary to allocate resources for MPs. He should have simply said that resources cannot be allocated,” Thapa said.