The Himalayan Times, 23rd May 2017, Kathmandu
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara today said the new budget for the fiscal 2017-18 would not incorporate any new programme and would only give continuity to the existing government programmes.
Mahara said the government would bring a full budget in accordance with the ceiling fixed by the National Planning Commission as mandated by the constitution on May 29.
NPC — the apex planning body of the country — had raised the budget ceiling for fiscal 2017-18 by 10.21 per cent as compared to the current budget to Rs 1,156.04 billion in the first week of February.
Speaking during a pre-budget discussion with journalists in the capital today, Mahara said, “The new fiscal budget will not incorporate new programmes of the government as it would breach the election code of conduct.”
Mahara added that the new budget would give high priority to the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections, national pride projects and projects of national priority, reconstruction, among other sectors.
“The government will increase budget for aforementioned sectors in the new budget,” added Mahara. According to him, the new fiscal budget will prioritise economic growth of the country and aim to give momentum to economic activities.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said the major challenge facing the country was to sustain the current economic growth. “The government is committed to bringing investment and business-friendly budget in a bid to sustain the economic growth of the country,” Subedi said.
He added that the capital expenditure of the government this year was approximately 3.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, while capital expenditure in the last one decade had not crossed two per cent of the national GDP. “As the structure of national GDP today has increased to $26 billion from $22.49 billion in the previous year, capital expenditure of the government is seen less, though it has been increasing lately,” he added. Subedi added that low spending capacity of the National Reconstruction Authority had affected the entire capital expenditure of the government, as the authority had been allocated a huge chunk of budget in the current fiscal.
Speaking on the occasion, Gokarna Awasti, president of the Society of Economic Journalists Nepal, urged the government to make sufficient allocation for projects of national pride in the new budget.