Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Finance minister unveils post earthquake reconstruction budget of Rs 819.47 billion

Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today presented a post-disaster reconstruction budget of Rs 819.47 billion for the next fiscal year 2015-16.
Presentation the budget at the Legislature Parliament, Mahat said that budget for the next fiscal year is 32.6 per cent more than the budget for the current fiscal year. "The government plans to mobilise Rs 475.01 billion (59 per cent) from revenue, Rs 2 billion from principal repayment, Rs 110.93 billion (14 per cent) from foreign grant, Rs 88 billion (11 per cent) from internal borrowing, and Rs 94.96 billion (12 per cent) from foreign loans," he said, adding that the current fiscal year's savings of Rs 48.56 billion will also be used to fund the budget. "The savings from the current fiscal year and principal repayment will make up four per cent."
The expansionary budget has earmarked Rs 484.27 billion (59.1 per cent) for recurrent expenditure, Rs 208.87 billion (25.5 per cent) for capital expenditure and Rs 126.33 billion (15.4 per cent) for financial management provisions.
With priority for reconstruction – after the devastating earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks – the budget aims to boost people’s confidence on government by prioritising relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the aftermath of the devastating quake, he said, adding that the government has allocated Rs 74 billion for the National Reconstruction Fund, while Rs 17 billion is provided directedly to the concerned authorities until Reconstruction Authorities comes into operation. "The government will not let people of earthquake-hit region feel lack of budget."
Urging private sector to cooperate with the government in reconstruction campaign, Mahat said that National Reconstruction Authority will be given a full shape soon. Pledging to train government staff for disaster management, he said that heritage sites will be prioritised during the reconstruction to revive tourism. "The government will leave no stone unturned to revive tourism," he added.
The socialism-tilted budget – unlikely from Mahat's past six budgets – aims at exploiting internal resources to its maximum, progressing in economic and social index, effectively completing the reconstruction work by issuing reconstruction bonds, Mahat said presenting his seventh budget. The budget has doubled senior citizen allowance to Rs 1,000 per month from Rs 500, he added.
Likewise, the budget promised to train as many as 50,000 youth for reconstruction work.
It will help create employment opportunities, he said, adding that the government will also organise an Investment Conference in the next fiscal year to promote foreign investment.
Minister Mahat said the government is likely to mobilse only 93 per cent of the revenue target for the current fiscal year, due to the devastating earthquake of April 25. "The earthquake is likely to increase poverty," he said, adding that the government will, however, try to restrict it to 25 per cent. "The government is facing a serious challenge to maintain economic growth rate above eight per cent to graduate from the least developed countries (LDC) to the developing country by 2022."
However, the budget has targeted six per cent economic growth for the next fiscal year.
The budget has also pledged its support to Constituent Assembly (CA) for fast-track constitution writing and holding of local body elections, apart from supporting cement industry for access road construction, completing construction of Postal Highway within the next five years, continuing multi-year contract system, and arranging additional budget for projects and programmes facing budget deficiency on basis of their work progress.
Earlier, a meeting of the cabinet in the afternoon has endorsed the budget for the next fiscal year before presenting it to the House.

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