Former FinMins urge Khatiwada to bring resource-sustained budget for next fiscal

Kathmandu, May 8

Former finance ministers have urged the incumbent Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada to ensure that the budget for 2019-20 fiscal year avoids populist programmes and is sustained by available resources.

Speaking at the pre-budgetary discussion organised by the Finance Committee of the Legislature Parliament here today, Former finance ministers Baburam Bhattarai, Gyanendra Karki and Surendra Pandey opined that the new fiscal budget should completely avoid politically-driven projects, programmes and policies and focus on resource-sustained economic growth and development.

“The recently unveiled policies and programmes of the government seem to be more political, hinting that the upcoming budget will be ‘populist’ in nature. The government should be aware of it and introduce policies and programmes that can be properly executed,” said Bhattarai.

As per Bhattarai, though the Finance Ministry is certain to receive political pressure for pork barrel projects, the finance minister should be able to withstand such pressure and include only feasible projects and programmes in the budget.

Similarly, former finance minister Karki said that the government should end the trend of incorporating recommendation-based projects and properly analyse their feasibility before allocating budget for them. “Announcing politically-recommended projects in the budget will leave negative impact on the economic growth and development.

The government should identify priority sectors for development and economic growth and focus on them in the budget,” said Karki.

Likewise, another former finance minister Pandey said the new fiscal budget should prioritise strengthening the budgetary implementation mechanism.

“The policy implementation bottleneck has remained a historical problem of the country, which has impeded development and economic growth,” said Pandey, adding that every project and programme announced in the budget should be accompanied with measures for implementation.

Pandey also said that the government should make the Public Procurement Act business-friendly since the government agencies have identified lengthy procedural and documentation processes in the act as the major hurdles for expansion of programmes and services.

Addressing queries and concerns of lawmakers, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that the government will consider resource availability while incorporating projects and programmes in the budget. Similarly, Khatiwada also informed the House panel that the government has started the process to amend the Public Procurement Act in a bid to ease procurement process of different projects.

Furthermore, Khatiwada said that the government’s focus will be on timely completion of national pride projects through the budget.