Kathmandu, April 23
Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada has said that the government will control haphazard imports, especially those related to the import of luxury goods through the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2019-20.
Addressing a pre-budgetary discussion organised by the Management Association of Nepal here today, Minister Khatiwada said that the government is not in the mood to allow rampant import of goods just to achieve its revenue target.
“We are committed to meeting the revenue target for this fiscal and it will be met. However, the government will not make haphazard imports the means to meet revenue goals. Import of luxury items must be controlled,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Khatiwada mentioned that it is necessary to enhance domestic production and boost exports while limiting imports in a bid to narrow down the trade deficit. “Similarly, the budget will also focus on expanding the tax administration.”
The finance minister also urged the provincial and local governments to be more responsible towards maintaining budgetary discipline. “Local and provincial governments should simultaneously exercise their rights and responsibilities,” added Khatiwada.
On the expenditure front, Khatiwada said that capital expenditure so far seems to be low, especially as the government is yet to release payments for various completed projects and contractors.
Speaking on the occasion, former governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Deependra Bahadur Chhetri said that governments have time and again lagged behind in effective implementation of the budget. “Government’s expenditure this year too is not satisfactory, which shows that our budget execution is still following traditional methods,” he said, adding that the government should sign performance contract with project developers to ensure that projects are completed on time.
Similarly, Shankar Sharma, former vice chairman of National Planning Commission, said that the government should be careful and not give priority to infeasible programmes and projects in the upcoming budget. “The government should give priority to only those projects in the budget, whose feasibility study and detailed project report have been completed,” he mentioned.
Satish Kumar More, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said that the government should start taking action against project developers who do not follow project timeline and develop projects on time. In a bid to ease the business and investment climate, the government should also ease bureaucratic hurdles, he stated.
A version of this article appears in print on April 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.