UML, oppn decry NC monopoly in budget makingThe CPN-UML, a major coalition partner in the government, has taken serious exception to the Nepali Congress ‘monopoly’ in drafting of the budget for the next fiscal year.
Terming the budget as unbalanced, the UML has claimed that Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat formulated the budget without consulting with its leaders. It has also blamed the NC for not incorporating its concerns.
The second largest party in the Constituent Assembly has said that the NC had forgotten that it is leading a coalition government where the UML is a major partner.
“We condemn the NC’s monopoly in the budget formulation,” said UML Chief Whip Agni Kharel, after the budget presentation on Tuesday. “This is not acceptable.”
The party has called its parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday to formulate party’s formal view on the budget. According to sources, UML ministers had objected NC’s unilateral move in budget formulation during the Cabinet meeting called to endorse the budget. They came down heavily against Minister Mahat for behaving like a finance minister of the party that had an absolute majority in the government.
Other opposition parties too joined the UML chorus, calling the budget as ritualistic and that it failed to cater to the present need of reconstruction and economic development. They expressed doubts if the government’s aim to graduate the country to a developing country by 2022 and to a middle income group by 2030 could ever be attained with such programme.
The main opposition UCPN (Maoist) has termed the budget a status quo and criticised the government for not being able to embrace the changes, arguing that it has failed to cater to the aspirations of victims of the twin earthquakes that struck the nation on April 25 and May 12.
Senior Maoist leader and former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai said the ruling coalition had failed to determine the priority in the budget. Stressing the need for restructuring the country’s financial policy, the former finance minister said the government cannot attain its growth target with the present programme. The government has set a growth target of 6 percent for the next fiscal year.
“The budget is very traditional. The NC and UML want to bring economic prosperity through their conventional way of thinking,” Bhattarai said, adding the government has squandered a great opportunity to win the hearts and minds of people victimised in the disaster.
The Madhes-based parties said the budget has no concrete policy to promote inclusion and end the regional and ethic disparity in the country. The budget has increased in quantity not in quality, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) leader Jitendra Dev said. “The budget has left out many things suggested by lawmakers in the pre-budget discussions,” he remarked. “What’s the point of holding a pre-budget discussion if its recommendations are not included in the budget.” Dozens of lawmakers from various political parties had given a number of suggestions in the pre-budget discussions last week.