FinMin Khatiwada defends budget for FY 2020-21


Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has said that the budget for fiscal year 2020-21 is realistic and has tried to address the current circumstances.

Responding to reservations about the budget expressed by lawmakers in the meeting of the House of Representatives today, Khatiwada said that the budget has primarily focused on the health sector to fight the spread of COVID-19 and on education. He also said that the budget has tried to provide relief to businesses affected by the pandemic.

“Amid resource constraint, the budget was lower in size. However, it has addressed all key concerns of the economy and the current crisis,” the minister reiterated and urged lawmakers to comment on the budget based on factual statistics.

Primarily, lawmakers had expressed their reservations about government’s decision to raise taxes on electric vehicles.

Similarly, lawmakers of the opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) had also said that the government’s decision to collect high internal borrowing and foreign aid was not logical.

However, Minister Khatiwada defended the budget citing that taxes on certain segments of electric vehicles has been raised as a huge amount of currency is being used to purchase luxurious electric vehicles and this has been adding pressure on the government.

“Customs duty on public electric vehicles is still one per cent, while the imposed customs tax on other electric vehicles is still 50 per cent lower compared to vehicles that operate on fossil fuels,” he stated.

Similarly, he also defended that sources of revenue identified in the budget, including foreign aid and grant projection, are realistic. “It is true that we plan to collect higher internal borrowing for next fiscal year which is worth almost Rs 225 billion to balance the expenditure and source for the budget. However, the collected domestic loan will be used in the production sector and will not affect the flow of loans from the banking sector to businesses,” said Khatiwada.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.