Kathmandu, April 26
With almost a month to go before the government tables new fiscal budget, Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada today informed that the 2018-19 fiscal budget will be ‘balanced’ and address the key issues of every sector.
As envisioned by the Constitution, the budget must be tabled on 15th of Jestha (which falls on May 29 this year) at the Parliament.
Addressing a pre-budget discussion programme organised today by the Management Association of Nepal (MAN), Minister Khatiwada informed, “The budget will primarily focus on implementing federalism in the country. Along with this, it will equally prioritise issues of every sector, including marginalised sections, traders, farmers, industrialists and businesses.”
“The budget will be balanced, genuine and tactful,” he added.
Alleging that previous budgets had incorporated projects without ensuring adequate resources for their development, Khatiwada said budget for the upcoming fiscal year will give high priority to resources management.
Ensuring that the new budget will also guarantee feasible investment environment in Nepal, Khatiwada said, “Among others, the budget will also end double taxation policies prevalent today.”
Citing that expenses of the government will increase dramatically in the coming years, senior economist Sanjeev Shakya urged the government to promote entrepreneurship and investment in the country through the budget rather than attempting to increase revenue merely by increasing taxes on tobacco, vehicles and alcoholic beverages.
“Rather than just revisiting tax slabs on different products and services, the budget should introduce programmes to promote domestic economy and make it competitive in the global market,” said Shakya.
Similarly, Federal Analyst Khim Lal Devkota stressed on the need to make tax administration efficient and effective in all three levels of the government (central, provincial and local) to ensure that the government does not face resources crunch while implementing federalism.
“Proper management of foreign aid, promotion of production sector and increasing investment are other factors that need consideration to manage financial resources for government as required,” said Devkota.
On the occasion, Gyanendra Dhungana, president of Nepal Bankers’ Association, urged the government to introduce a provision in budget that requires Nepali workers in foreign lands to send certain per cent of their income through banking channel. “Such legal provision is crucial to discourage hundi transactions.”
Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, urged the government to adopt policies that promote production rather than imports.
Mohan Ojha, general secretary of MAN, said that the budget should not only encourage domestic production, but should also introduce policies that narrow down the country’s trade deficit and encourage investment.
A version of this article appears in print on April 27, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.