Thursday, May 5, 2016

Budget to declare next decade as 'Decade of Economic Growth'

The government is declaring the next decade as a 'Decade of Economic Growth' in the budget for the next fiscal year.
Tabling the government's principles and priorities of the budget for the next fiscal year in the parliament today, finance minister Bishnu Poudel said that the government will declare the next decade as the 'Decade of Economic Growth'.
"The next three fiscal years, starting from fiscal year 2016-17, will be called the 'courageous starting' phase for economic growth," he said, adding that another three fiscal years, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, will be called 'encouraging transformation phase' for economic growth.
"Likewise, Fiscal Year 2022-23 to 2024-25 will be called the 'phase for double digit economic growth', and 2025-26 will be called the 'sustainable economic growth phase'," Poudel said, adding that the next decade will spur upward spiral economic growth.
The finance minister also stressed that the government's focus will be on service sector, including agriculture, industry and tourism, claiming that these are the key drivers of economic growth. "The government will help increase production and productivity in these sectors to accelerate growth," he added.
However, the country has been reeling under low economic growth of around 3 per cent in the last decade due to political and policy instability, inefficient bureaucracy and eroding spending capacity of development projects that could have created wealth and helped redistribute the wealth.
Without increasing efficiency of bureaucracy, qualitative spending capacity of development projects, increasing economic growth is a distant dream. The budget for 2015-16 had also declared the current fiscal year as the budget implementation year. But the government has failed to spend capital budget in the current fiscal year.
According to the Financial Comptroller General's Office (FCGO), the government has spent only 20.46 per cent of the capital budget till May 4. Of the total capital budget of Rs 208.87 billion, the government has been able to spend only Rs 42.17 billion so far.
The government is sitting on a cash pile of Rs 100 billion due to its eroding spending capacity which has pulled the economic growth down to 0.77 per cent in the current fiscal year.
Nepal needs to post economic growth of around 8 per cent to achieve developing country status by 2022 from the current status of Least Developed Country (LDC), and also to upgrade to middle-income country by 2030 from the current low-income country.
But the slew of economic reforms programmes and age-old Acts have been blocking the economic growth rate, which had once in the 90's touched 8 per cent due to economic reforms of the 90s post democratic movement. The government has failed to start the second generation economic reform programmes that is the root cause for the low economic growth trajectory.


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