New FM promises better economy

KATHMANDU: Newly-appointed finance minister Surendra Pandey said on Tuesday that the next budget would be guided by a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that they would finalise with other political partners after the formation of a full-fledged cabinet.

Speaking at the Reporters Club Nepal here, Pandey,

who assumed office yesterday hailed the efforts of the immediate past finance minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai for generating more revenue. “The result-oriented programmes of the earstwhile government will be given continuity,” he said adding that the size of the budget — that he is propably bringing by July-half — would be a little bigger in size than last year’s which was Rs 236.15 billion.

His predecessor Dr Bhattarai had presented his first budget of Rs 236.15 billion for the fiscal year 2008-09 on September 19 last year. The revenue target that he had set for this fiscal year was Rs 141.72 billion. Though the government was successful in revenue generation it failed to kickstart development works resulting in the growth forecast of 7.5 per cent getting hit.

Dr Bhattarai was blamed for not being able to create job opportunities and spend on development works. However, Pandey said without elaborating that the government would emphasise on creating more jobs. He said a separate mechanism would be formed — if an all-party mechanism could not be formed — at the local level to expediate development works. He would focus on spending on development works and try to crack the whip on price hike. “We will also bring some relief packages,” he promised.

Pandey said that the priority of his government’s budget would be to create an investment-friendly environment, improve industrial relations and increase investment in productive sectors to create job opportunities. “The government will encourage the private sector,” he said adding that he would try to combine three pillars of economic development — government, cooperatives and private sector — for a prosperous Nepal. “People should feel the change,” he added.

However, Pandey said that he still needed to study the privatisation of government corporations and act against tax and revenue evaders.