Tuesday, September 14, 2021

'Government shutdown' as budget fails to get through

 The government employees may not be able to get salary, let alone Dashain bonus, due to government shut down from Wednesday mid-night.

The government will not be able to spend budget from tomorrow mid-night due to prolonged tug of war in the parliament between the government alliance and main opposition, confirmed the Parliament Secretariat.

Though, the government needs to pass the substitution budget bill within tomorrow, the meeting of the House of Representatives has been adjourned for a week, until September 20, after the main opposition CPN-UML lawmakers disturbed the House proceding.

"The government may not be able to spend the budget for a while," confirmed the finance minister Janardan Sharma, who had registered the bill on Friday despite the obstruction from the opposition.

The main opposition CPN-UML has vowed not to let the House move forward accusing speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota of not acknowledging the party’s August 17 decision to expel 14 lawmakers, including Madhav Kumar Nepal. Nepal split from the UML and formed his party, CPN (Unified Socialist), on August 26.

The CPN-UML has alleged that Speaker Sapkota played a complicit role in splitting their party.

As the ordinance budget brought by former government led by KP Sharma Oli gets invalidated from Wednesday night, the government will not be able to spend from the state coffer until the replacement budget gets endorsed from the house. The Oli-led government dissolved the House a week earlier the budget date. Then finance minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel had brought an ordinance budget of Rs 1.64 trillion for the current fiscal year 2021-22, on May 29. The incumbent government brought a substitution budget bill of nearly Rs 15 billion less to Rs 1.63 trillion last Friday.

"Though, the government is not allowed to spend, there will be no legal problem in tax collection,” Sharma said, after the House meeting, adding that the budget will be endorsed from the regular process, of possible. "Otherwise, the government will find a way out."

The incumbent government led by NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba had tabled the budget ordinance in the Parliament on July 18. Hence, a substitution bill had to be passed through the House by Wednesday mid-night, as 60 days would complete from the date the ordinance was presented. If the ordinance is not passed by the House within 60 days after the House starts, it will automatically null and void. But since the substitution bill has already tabled in the House and is in the process.

According to the Parliament Secretariat, the lawmakers will be allowed 72 hours to register their amendment proposals on the substitution bill. "The 72 hours end on September 20."

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