Consensus led to budget: Dr Mahat

Kathmandu, July 13:

Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today said that the budget for the fiscal year 2007-08 has been made following a consensus among all ruling parties.

Addressing a post-budget press meet, Dr Mahat said that the making of the budget for fiscal year 2007-08 was a tough job, as he had to maintain a strategic balance between weaker economic realities and transitional politics and divergent popular demands.

The finance minister presented Rs 168.99 billion worth of a budget for the coming fiscal year in the interim parliament.

Of the total outlay, Rs 98.17 billion has been earmarked under recurrent headings and Rs 55.26 billion as capital expenditure and the remaining Rs 15.56 billion for repayment of principals.

When asked about the need to increase the budget size, he claimed that the total outlay has been maintained within the given standard as well as an utmost attempt has been made to keep the budget deficit below five per cent of the GDP.

The projection of five per cent GDP growth, keeping the inflation at an average of five per cent, is easily achievable, provided favourable weather and improved security situation is attained, he said.

Priority sectors of the budget include making the peace process sustainable and long lasting, alleviating poverty and economic prosperity through improving investment climate, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

As a result, a significant jump in allocation has been made for sectors like education, health, urban development, social welfare and drinking water, Dr Mahat said.

As per the priority rating, 88.12 per cent or Rs 148.93 billion budget has been allotted for policies and programmes under priority 1, Rs 18.89 billion for priority 2.

Dr Mahat also said that the budget formulation and allocations are based on the concept paper of three-year Interim Plan.