‘Focus on security, investment’

KATHMANDU: The economists during a pre-budget interaction organised by Nepal Economic Association (NEA) suggested the government to focus on increasing security and investment in the budget. However, finance minister Surendra Pandey assured them that the budget will concentrate on helping check price hike, generate more employment, increase competitiveness and spending on infrastructure. He also accepted that the culture of bandh has bleed the economy white.

Prof Dr Madan Kumar Dahal, president of NEA suggested to bring the budget based on Three Year Interim Plan and Common Minimum Programme. “The budget should guarantee employment for a member of the poorest of the poor family for atleast 100 minimum days in a year,” he said adding that the people should feel the change.

“Without infrastructure development growth is not possible and private sector should be encouraged to invest on infrastructure,” he suggested, “however, Nepal’s development is hit by non-financial causes.”

“If the government brings budget focusing on increasing investment, growth rate can be fuelled,” said Prof Dr Bishwambher Pyakuryal. He was of the opinion that Nepal could achieve five per cent growth next fiscal year, provided the situation does not deteriorate. “Though the growth rate at present is at 3.8 per cent,” he said adding that cartelling has pushed the prices up to double digit.

However,the effective monitoring and supervision could bring the price down, suggested Prof Dahal. “Quality of products imported should be taken seriously as our import has been increasing but the quality has not been maintained,” he added.

Pyakuryal also suggested to utilise the surplus budget from this year and invest on storage-based hydel projects as the country is reeling under a power shortage. Apart from hydropower, they also stressed on giving priority to agriculture sector by providing subsidy on seeds and fertilizers to fuel growth.