HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Economists have urged the government to bring a small budget in time through ordinance. The caretaker government should bring a small budget for six months through political consensus, they said at the Reporters’ Club here today.
The caretaker prime minister and ceremonial President should not introduce a regular budget, said economist Dr Chiranjivi Nepal. “The budget must focus on current economic issues,” he said, adding that greater political consensus is a must to set priority issues.
According to him, the budget should be small to avoid possible misuse in the current difficult political setting.
Former governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Dr Tilak Rawal said that a delay in the budget may cause difficulties to the economy, therefore it must be introduced on schedule. “But it should not be ambitious,” he cautioned.
Supporting the arguments, Prof Dr Bishwombher Pyakuryal said that the country could not afford political interests in the budget. “A big budget will cause inflation and people will suffer, so the government should be aware about it,” he said. “The government planned Rs 429 billion budget will increase inflation as the imports has increased and domestic production has decreased,” the senior economist said, adding that the expansionist budget will need huge domestic borrowing and the borrowings for the private sector will be costlier.
Our economy has eroded the capacity to sustain the expansionary budget, Pyakuryal added.
Economist Dr Chandramani Adhikari suggested about making a practical budget. “The budget must address people’s interests and expectations,” he said, “If the new budget can’t address people’s aspirations, it will be useless.”
Dr Pushpa Kandel said that this was a good time to introduce a budget targeting double-digit economic growth and subsidies to people. “But political consensus is a must,” he said.
Opposing other economists, UCPN-Maoist’s economic advisor Dr Dilliraj Khanal said that the government must introduce a regular budget through ordinance. “The new budget should address issues of all communities giving priority to employment, agriculture, social justice, tourism and infrastructure development,” he insisted.
However, in a separate programme, former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat had doubts on the rights of a caretaker government to introduce the budget. “A caretaker government cannot bring a budget on moral grounds,” he said.
The government is preparing to bring the budget through ordinance but it is not possible, he said, adding that political parties will not be ready for it.