FM flogging dead horse: Experts

KATHMANDU: Economists have warned the government not to bring a large budget as it would have a negative impact on the national economy. It would not be practical or technically effective, they opined while speaking at Reporters’ Club here today.

“A large-sized budget will have a negative impact on the overall economy of the country,” said senior economist Prof Dr Bishambher Pyakurel.

“It is not suitable to expand the budget size as the country will not be able to handle a budget of Rs 290 billion. It will lead to a loss of Rs 50 billion,” he said adding that the government cannot meet the revenue target of Rs 175 billion. “If the government brings a budget of Rs 290 billion, the revenue target has to be Rs 175 billion and that is impossible to meet,” he added. He was of the opinion that the fiscal irresponsibility has increased. “Capital expenditure that was only 17.5 per cent at the end of 11 months, has touched 34 per cent in last 19 days,” he said alluding to the latest data of Nepal Rastra Bank.

“A budget of Rs 290 billion with existing GDP of 3.5 per cent would be too huge and the GDP would have to be increased to five per cent — for which at least Rs 175 billion revenue has to be generated, in order to implement the existing budget,” he said.

Chairman of Public Accounts Committe (PAC) Ramkrishna Yadav said that the finance minister had randomly distributed the capital expenditure amount and that investigation is on into this matter. He added that similar carelessness on part of the past finance ministers also should be investigated. Yadav has opined that the details of the expenditure have to be made public as it is a matter of public interest.

“There is lack of freshness in the budget presented by the existing government. Thus, hope is lacking in this budget,” said UCPN-Maoist leader and economist Dr Dilliraj Khanal adding that the budget structure has been copied from others and been introduced as a medium to appease the UML party workers. “There is a need for strong and long lasting programmes of development in the budget ,” said economist, Dr Shanker Sharma. According to him, infrastructure development and calling of tender proposols in the first four weeks, hydropower and agricultural sector development are major things to be included in this budget.

“A budget of Rs 280 billion would have been better instead, in which about Rs 180 billion would be contributed by internal resources,” said economist, former member of National Planning Commission and a member of Budget Advisory Committe Poshraj Pandey. He added that the major portion of the budget should be utilized in developing investment environment, relief programmes, security, employment and providing inclusive opportunities.