Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: Twenty-five parties — representing in the Constituent Assembly — today backed the three major parties’ proposal to amend the interim constitution to allow the caretaker government to table the full budget.
In a meeting of 27 parties called by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal this morning, only two fringe parties — Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) and Dalit Janajati Rastriya Party — opposed the idea of amending the interim constitution. They, instead, suggested to the government to bring the budget under the existing constitutional provision.
“The meeting approved the proposal to amend the interim constitution to allow the caretaker government to table the budget sans policy and programmes,” informed UCPN-Maoist leader Dev Prasad Gurung.
UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML leaders yesterday reached an agreement to back the proposed budget, which the government plans to table at the parliament on November 19. The parties have agreed to add a clause under Article 96. This will be the eighth amendment to the interim constitution.
PM Nepal’s adviser Raghujee Panta informed that the government will table the budget on November 19 and it will be passed the following day.
Prior to yesterday’s development, the UCPN-M was vehemently opposing the idea of bringing a full budget — which has been long overdue, almost by five months — by a caretaker government.
The budget should have been in force by mid-July, but following the political stalemate in the wake of Madhav Kumar Nepal’s resignation from the post of prime minister on June 30, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey could only table the ‘special budget’ of Rs 110.21 billion for regular expenses under interim constitution’s special provision.
After parliament’s repeated attempts to elect the prime minister coming a cropper, the caretaker government was under pressure to bring the full budget.
According to sources at the finance ministry, the government is under huge pressure to present the full budget also because of decreasing revenue growth which is hovering around 10 per cent.
Last fiscal, the government was able to mobilise revenue worth over Rs 181 billion but in the absence of the budget this year, there is a huge revenue leakage that is going to bleed the state coffers dry.
Budget delay will also encourage corruption, especially by the end of the fiscal year, in the light of failure to use up the money allotted for various projects.
In yet another setback of budget delay, the government has failed to spend on development activities, which has left the private sector in a wait-and-watch situation.