Practical, realistic approach to budget urged

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 4:

Experts and planners at a pre-budget discussion today stressed on a more realistic and practical budget, rectifying the errors that were observed in the previous budget. Dr Shanker Sharma, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) said the upcoming budget would not see any major changes, and will give continuity to the existing budgetary situation.

Speaking at a programme organised by Centre for Public Policy Dialogue, he also informed that community driven projects with adequate resource allocation would top the priority in the budget. “There is no doubt that peace and security is the prime agenda of time. Thus the budget has to be serious on the issue,” Dr Sharma said, adding that regular expenditure will be met by revenue mobilisation.

Prithivi Raj Ligal, former vice-chairman of NPC, presenting a concept paper on macro-economic and fiscal management, said that the country was unable to use total allocated development budget at full extent for last couple of years. “Hence, it would be better to decrease the development budget and make it more realistic”, he said, “We need to decrease the debt and if we want to be realistic and tactful, we should not freeze the money allocated for developmental activities. Though revenue growth is increasing, it is still uncertain to tell that whether it will sustain or not which is a big challenge ahead.” “The private sectors are the bulls eye of the ongoing instability in the country,” said Binod Bahadur Shrestha, president of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), presenting a concept paper on private sector on upcoming budget.

Shrestha suggested that the government should work towards the minimum agreement and security of private sector so as to encourage them for more investment. Programmes to promote agricultural, tourism and sick industries should be included in the forthcoming budget, he said. He also underlined the need to rectify various taxation related acts, rules and regulations as well as Income Tax Act-2002. Excise duty, local tax, monetary and banking reform are other factors that should be considered seriously in forthcoming budget, he urged.

Presenting a paper on monetary and financial sector reforms, Satyendra Pyara Shrestha, former governor of Nepal Rastra Bank expressed concern serious over declining private sector credit and sorry state of financial sector reforms. “Recent findings of the reform programmes launched in two largest ailing commercial banks, Nepal Bank Limited and Rastriya Banijya Bank, raise serious questions over the reform, doubting the reform process,” he said.