Government set to bring rural investment plan

Kathmandu, May 16:

One day after making public the gloomy status of the national economy, finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today disclosed that the government is planning to bring in a massive rural investment plan.

Speaking at Reporters’ Club on Tuesday, Dr Mahat said the proposed plan would emphasise employment and income generation in order to revitalise the rural economy. “The plan will focus on reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure as well as economic activities,” he added.

Although Dr Mahat didn’t mention when would the plan would come into force, he said that the programme will focus on sustaining peace by means of developmental activities. “The economic and development issues will be on priority along with the political ones, to render peace long lasting,” he said. He further added that the government would pull domestic resources as well as seek international donors’ support for the proposed plan.

“We must seek donors’ support since the domestic resource is not enough. The non-budgetary expenses by the past government have already put the economy into a ditch.”

Dr Mahat also reiterated that the government would completely scrap the unnecessary and unproductive expenses to the Royal Palace, and stop recruitment of any security personnel and purchase of military goods.

“There will be no additional expenses on defence and police as well as on new recruitment. The government will try its best to refund money spent on LC to purchase weapons and helicopters meant for army and police,” Dr Mahat said. He, however, declined to divulge the details on the matter.

“The past government (royal) was determined to solve the Maoists problem through military action and was prepared for complete militarisation, which sent up the graph of unproductive expenses,” he added.

When asked whether the government will take action against those who embezzled public fund, Dr Mahat said the government will consult legal opinions in order to refund the money embezzled.

Stating that the country is passing through a critical juncture in its history by financially and politically, Dr Mahat urged the private sector and concerned stakeholders to cooperate and act accordingly for revival of the economy.

He also urged the Maoists to stop extortion and force donations in order to create a congenial environment for the peace process.

“When the government is committed to fulfil the demands abiding the 12-point agreements, they (Maoists) should also respect and reciprocate in the same manner.”

Dr Mahat repeatedly urged the Maoists not to threaten with the closure of industries and force donations from businessmen, industrialists and common people.