Thursday, May 16, 2013

Government to focus on energy, transport and irrigation

The government has decided to prioritise energy, transport especially road networks and irrigation for commercial agriculture apart from import substitution in the budget for next fiscal year 2013-14.
"The government will bring the budget on time and give momentum to the economy," said senior advisor at the finance ministry Dr Chiranjivi Nepal.
"The budget will also provide relief to the common people," he said, adding that the government will give regularity to other development programmes too.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) has given a ceiling of Rs 510 billion for the budget of next fiscal year 2013-14. The current fiscal year's budget of Rs 404.82 billion could not boost the morale of the private sector as it came too late to spur private sector growth. "However, the next budget will help boost the morale of the private sector," Nepal said.
The private sector has been repeatedly asking the government to bring the budget on time which will help create an investment friendly climate. The delayed budget for the current fiscal year has pulled economic growth down to 3.56 per cent — the lowest after the Constituent Assembly election — and the government has failed to spend on development activities.
The government has more than Rs 50 billion budget surplus in its vault due to the delayed budget and low appetite for development activities. It has been able to spend only 34 per cent of the development budget in the first ten months of the current fiscal year to May 14.
The government has allocated Rs 66.1 billion for the capital expenditure-— for development activities — in the current fiscal year. But it has been able to spend only Rs 22.49 billion till now, according to the Finance Ministry.
"Without a regular budget, the country cannot move forward," Nepal said, adding that the budget is a must for stability, though this government has been formed to hold elections.
Likewise, vice president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Pradeep Jung Pandey said that the government must bring the budget on time. "The government was formed for election purpose but the budget is also an integral part of the regular job," he said, urging the government to consider priority programmes while designing the budget. "They must not be excluded," he added.
On the occasion, economist Dr Chandramani Adhikari said that the new budget should lay emphasis on creating employment. "The government must also bring a realistic budget that can be implemented in the current situation," he said. "An ambitious budget cannot be implemented when the country is in a political transition."
However, former finance minister Surendra Pandey said that the government must concentrate on elections. "Timely election is the only mandate the government has got from political parties.

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