‘Budget to reflect consensus’

Kathmandu, June 21:

Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today reiterated that the forthcoming budget would

be based on a comprehensive agreement between the eight party alliance.

Stating that the budget will break the traditional approach, he stated the primary focus of the budget would be on sustaining peace and security, enhancing business confidence, reconstruction and rehabilitation as well as driving the economy to a new height.

He also assured that the private sector’s central role in business and economic activities will continue as in the past.

Dr Mahat was speaking at a pre-budget interaction organised by the Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) today. He also said that the many problems faced by the private sector could be solved by themselves. “The private sector needs to try to solve the problems at their own rather than blaming each other,” he said.

He also underscored the need for the Nepali private to build entrepreneurship to

conduct businesses even under adverse situation.

Surendra Bir Malakar, president of NCC urged the government and all ruling parties to take the economic issue as the main national development agenda. “It is the right time for the government to prepare a comprehensive economic development programme based on an all-party consensus.

It will be easier for the government since all major parties are part of it,” he said.

The government should be innovative and wise at mobilising revenues through expansion of the tax net instead of hiking tax rates, said Malakar, adding the customs administration should be made transparent and business friendly.

Dr Tilak Rawal, former governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, meanwhile said that a liberal economic policy will be in favour of Nepal. Besides political instability, the low growth rate is being attributed to low capital expenditure and low agricultural growth rate, he said.

Stressing on the need of massive investment in infrastructure development, Dr Rawal suggested that the forthcoming budget should bring a special package to develop hydropower and tourism, which are the two most lucrative sectors for Nepal.

Him Bahadur Rawal, chief of revenue committee at NCC presented the recommendations from the private sector to be included in the budget. NCC has suggested managed and increased coordination among government agencies for result-oriented implementation of polices and programmes.

NCC has also recommended setting up of an independent revenue tribunal to check leakage of revenues and malpractices in revenue mobilisation. Keeping in mind the diversity on trade in services and goods, the government should adopt multiple rates in value added tax.

Online customs declaration and a payment mechanism should be set up, said Rawal, adding that enactment of the new trade and industrial policy is crucial to boost Nepal’s foreign trade as well as attract foreign direct investment.