‘Making budget a tricky affair’

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 8:

Senior economists, businessmen and experts have commented that budget making for the current fiscal year is proving to be a tricky job for the government as the revenue situation is getting worse by the day.

Due mainly to the lack of resources and low revenue collection in the current fiscal year’s first 10 months, the government has to work extra hard, suggest experts as the government is busy making the budget for the forthcoming fiscal year 2005-06.

Prof Bishwambher Pyakuryal, president Nepal Economic Association (NEA) today strongly urged the government to make a realistic budget without increasing it to Rs 95 billion, as the absorptive capacity of the economy is deteriorating day by day.

Prof Pyakuryal has asserted that defence expenditure of the country has increased by two folds in the last four years. He said that in the current fiscal year’s first 10 months, revenue of Rs 52 billion has been collected only, out of the total estimated Rs 72 billion, which is short by Rs 20 billion.

In such a situation, it is useless to insert various ‘programmes and projects’ in the forthcoming budget, he said, adding that the government has to focus only on P1 (priority one) projects as per the 10th Plan as we do not have enough resources.

He was speaking at a pre-budget programme held at the Reporters’ Club today.

The government has guaranteed resources for P1 projects while for p2 and p3 projects, resources have not been assured. It is an irony that as per the survey, projects whose feasibility studies have not been done, are also been included in the previous years’ budget.

“From this fiscal year, the government should work

hard not to disperse resources in various directions”, Pyakuryal suggested.

Of the total value of foreign aided projects, 20 per cent has to be allocated for counterpart fund, but today Nepal is not in a position to do that due to weak economic resource mobilisation, said Pyakuryal.

The first vice-president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Chandi Raj Dhakal said that the government should give priority to boost business sector through the budget by introducing sound packages in the forthcoming budget. He said that the business sector has been facing serious setbacks in recent years for which effective rescuing mechanisms are inevitable.

“Of the total foreign assistance received by the country in 50 years, 33.16 per cent expenses have come from external assistances,” informed Pyakuryal. He said that budget expenses on economic and social services have gone negative by over 14 per cent, which is a serious problem.

Various speakers including Ravi Bhakta Shrestha, former president of FNCCI also spoke at the pre-budget interaction programme.