Kathmandu, July 15:

Economists today said that the Advance and Expenditure Bill 2065 might hit development activities in the country hard as local bodies would get less time to prepare their development plans.

Speaking at an interaction on the Bill here today, Dr Shanker Sharma, former vice-chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC), said the local bodies will get less time to prepare development plans after the announcement of full-fledged budget.

“Forty-five per cent of development activities begin only in second or third quarter of the fiscal year. I fear the development activities may be hampered as the full-fledged budget will come only in the second quarter of the fiscal year,” he said, adding that local bodies won’t be able to prepare and submit their plans on time. Sharma also feared corruption and irregularities.

Minister for Local Development (MoLD) Dev Gurung said the Bill was the outcome of political failure of the coalition government. “The need for the Bill would have never arose had political parties accepted Maoists’ victory in the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls,” he said.

However, this is only an interim provision. We will soon prepare a full-fledged budget that will truly reflect people’s thrust for change, he added.

Elaborating more on the party’s plans, Gurung said the budget would focus on developing independent national economy.

“We are for liberal and open market economy. But our efforts will be on protecting national industries and national economy first. We will not accept open market at the cost of our industries and economy,” he said.

Nepali Congress leader Dr Narayan Khadka termed the Bill as a temporary means of the caretaker government.

“People are anticipating revolutionary changes. They have been dreaming of a

New Nepal. But the Bill had thrown cold water on their anticipations,” Khadka said, adding that controlling and co-coordinating the expenditures would be the main challenge for the government.

“Investors’ confidence on the government is slowly decreasing,” industrialist and CA member Diwakar Golchha said. “The Bill failed to encourage the private sector. After insurgency, the private sector had great hopes and expectations, and anticipating something more proactive from the government,” he added.

Surendra Bir Malakar, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), also said the Bill has discouraged the private sector.

“People are waiting for economic revolution after the CA polls. The Advance and Expenditure Bill doesnot give a positive message,” Malakar added.

Krishna Hari Baskota, chief at the Budget Division of Ministry of Finance (MoF), said the Bill is brought to allow the government continue its routine expenses and revenue collection from July 16.

Meanwhile, issuing a press statement, NCC today said the lack of budget allocation might pose short-term and long-term impacts on revenue collection, development process and inflation might go up threatening the fiscal balance.

“Though the Advance and Expenditure Bill had to be brought to continue government’s policy and programmes, NCC strongly emphasises on the need of a full-fledged budget right after the formation of a new government,” the press release added.

NCC also believes that the recommendations of various main committees and sub-committees of the Revenue Recommendations Committee (RCC) would be incorporated in the full-fledged budget.