Full-fledged budget on May 28, says FinMin

Kathmandu, May 13

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said today that the government will bring full budget on the stipulated time of Jestha 15 (May 28 this year).

While addressing the concerns raised by lawmakers during the pre-budget discussion in the House of Representatives today, Minister Khatiwada said that bringing a partial budget would not be appropriate and a full-fledged realistic budget would be brought for the next fiscal year that begins in mid-July.

The main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) had suggested the government not to bring a full budget amid the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its impact on different sectors of the economy. NC lawmakers Minendra Rijal, during a parliamentary meeting, had suggested that the government present a partial budget of limited sized on May 28 and bring a supplementary budget later after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and all the sectors has been thoroughly analysed.

NC has been saying that the government should first carry out detailed assessment of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy and various sectors before bringing a full-fledged budget.

However, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that preparations are underway to bring a full budget. “Though uncertainty is hovering the economy, we should tactfully seek certainty within the uncertainty. The government will present a full-fledged budget on the stipulated time while being open to the possibility of bringing a supplementary budget later depending on changing circumstances,”

said Khatiwada.

Similarly, the finance minister said that the budget would be realistic and intend to address new circumstances and challenges resulting from the pandemic. “The budget will also be based on principles and priorities of the government and their implementation,” he added.

Minister Khatiwada, however, acknowledged that the government is under pressure to manage resources for additional liabilities brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and said that the budget will prioritise existing projects over new ones and adopt austerity measures in public expenses.

“The budget will dwell on reviving the economy from the coronavirus. “With limited resources at hand, the budget will focus on sorting out challenges caused by the COVID-19. While existing projects will be reprioritised, priority will be given to national pride projects and other priority projects that are near completion,” said Khatiwada.

The government is set to present its programmes and policies at the joint meeting of the House of Representatives and National Assembly scheduled for May 15 (Friday).

Similarly, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be presented at the joint parliamentary meeting scheduled for May 28.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 14, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.