FM tomtoms feats in mid-term review meet

Kathmandu, March 13:

The government has received seven Letters of Intent (LoI) for the feasibility study of East-West Electric Railway Project, Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai said here today during a mid-term review of the budget.

Dr Bhattarai admitted that the government had failed to achieve targetted growth, but he claimed that the growth would reach close to the target. He had set a target of seven per cent growth, but the Central Bureau of Static’s (CBS) — based on the first six months’ data — has reduced Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 3.8 per cent for this fiscal year.

CBS also claimed that the price hike would stand at 12.15 per cent, contrary to Dr Bhattarai’s promise to reduce it to 7.5 per cent. Inflation is at 14.4 per cent in the first six months of this fiscal year, according to the bureau.

The government is working to change the Income Tax Act according to the changed context.

“A three-member committee led by Surya Nath Upadhayay has been formed to study and give suggestions on the changes in the present Income Tax Act,” Dr Bhattarai said.

Though things look bleak, he painted a rosy picture of the economy. “All macroeconomic indicators are encouraging,” he said. “Revenue collection is encouraging and we will meet the target.” While presenting his first budget, he had predicted revenue target growth by

31.77 per cent.

“The treasury is in a confortable position at Rs 25 billion surplus and the economy is sound,” he claimed.

He also presented a list of achievements like increment in minimum wage of labourers, Bill passed for the Investment Promotion Board, planning of cooperative shops in villages, starting of self-employment scheme and preparation of draft for holding companies’ manual.