Kathmandu, September 4
The government is mulling over bringing a supplementary budget to incorporate the priority projects of the new government. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has spoken to the newly-appointed Vice Chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC) Min Bahadur Shrestha regarding availability of resources to bring a supplementary budget.
The finance minister was advised to bring a supplementary budget that has been provisioned in the constitution. The constitution clearly mentions that the government can bring a supplementary budget if it needs to spend additional amount than allowed by the Appropriation Act or the government’s expenditure exceeds the amount allowed by the act. However, the finance minister must have a justifiable reason to bring a supplementary budget
The ruling party (CPN-Maoists Centre) was also in the government as the coalition partner of the CPN-UML led government. The size of the supplementary budget has not yet been fixed because the UML-led government has already introduced a budget of Rs 1,048.9 billion. It is reported that senior officials of the Ministry of Finance have suggested the finance minister that resources for the supplementary budget can be generated through domestic loans and foreign grants. Revenue collection in this fiscal is also expected to exceed target as the collection in the first month has exceeded the target by Rs 1.25 billion.
As the newly-appointed Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi is assuming office from tomorrow, his first responsibility, that is, the process of formulating a supplementary budget, is expected to gather pace, according to officials.
The subsidiary bills — Finance Bill and Bill to Raise Domestic Debt — of the budget are yet to be approved from the Parliament. The finance minister has to again table these bills in the House.
Ram Sharan Mahat, a former finance minister, has said that the government has not consulted with coalition partners regarding bringing a supplementary budget. “First, the subsidiary bills of the budget need to be endorsed from the Parliament,” Mahat said, adding, “There should be some relevant reason to bring a supplementary budget, but bringing it in this scenario does not make any sense.”
As the previous government has already presented a Rs 1,048.9 billion budget, a supplementary budget will further increase the size of the budget. The government should come up with a priority and action matrix for better implementation of the budget, as per Mahat.
“Rather than bringing a supplementary budget, the government should focus on achieving results.”
While assuming office as the finance minister, Deputy Prime Minister Mahara had said that he had no plans to bring a supplementary budget but he has gone back on his words now.
A version of this article appears in print on September 05, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.