Friday, June 22, 2012

Finance Ministry preparing full-fledged budget

Once again, the budget has became the bargaining chip for the political parties.
The two major political parties CPN-UML and Nepali Congress — that are out of the government — have been urging the incumbent government led by UCPN-Maoists to pave way for the national consensus government before talking about the fiscal policy.
The caretaker finance minister Barshaman Pun, who is preparing a full-fledged budget of the size of around Rs 429 billion, has been on door-to-door campaign of the chieftains of the political parties but without any result.
When Pun met CPN-UML chief Jhalanatha Khanal today morning, he got the same answer, he got from Nepali Congress chief Shushil Koirala yesterday evening, "We'll talk about budget only after the political consensus."
However, Pun today said — after meeting Khanal — that there is still some possibility of political consensus by the end of this fiscal year, which will make his job easier.
The CPN-UML and Nepali Congress are of the view that the caretaker government — that has no right to bring a full-fledged budget — is forcefully bringing a full-fledged budget through ordinance and misuse the state coffer, whereas the ruling UCPN-Maoists is of the view that it can easily 'dupe' the two parties and bring full fledged fiscal policy through ordinance.
Fiscal policy popularly known as budget is a government's political vision embedded with financial statement with long-, medium-and short-term programmes and policies that will guide the country's economy.
But the caretaker government that has no future mandate will find it difficult 'morally' to announce the full-fledged budget.
In case of no political consensus, the government will be forced to bring special budget for the regular expenditures that will be one-third of the current fiscal year's budget of Rs 384.90 billion.
Even the economists have suggested the government to bring a smaller budget through ordinance for a three to six months period only. "Otherwise there will be no owership of the budget making its implementation dificult," said senior economist Prof Dr Bishwhambher Pyakurya.
This fiscal year, the budget was announced on time but the government has not been able to spend even half of the development expenditures due to lack of ownership, he added.
The current fiscal year's budget was announced by CPN-UML's the then finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari on time but immediately after the budget, the UCPN-Maoists came to the power and Pun took charge of the Finance Ministry, though its vision of economic policy did not go hand-in-hand with the CPN-UML resulting in the low capital spending that has hit the economy hard.
The private sector -- that is the engine of growth -- and common people, who are waiting for some relief package through budget, might again find themselves betrayed due to eluding political consensus.


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