Yubaraj Khatiwada resigns as finance minister, likely to be reappointed today

Kathmandu, March 3

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, who was also leading the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, tendered his resignation from his ministerial posts today.

As Khatiwada’s two-year term in the National Assembly got over today, he submitted his resignation at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers through Chief Secretary Lokdarshan Regmi. According to officials at Khatiwada’s secretariat, the OPMCM has approved his resignation and handed over Khatiwada’s portfolio to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli for the time being.

Issuing a press statement, Office of the President of Nepal stated that Oli would be taking over both the finance ministry and MoCIT until new ministers were appointed in the respective ministries. Although it has not yet been officially decided, Oli is in favour of reappointing Khatiwada as the finance minister.

If the prime minister reappoints Khatiwada as the finance minister, he will have to take the oath of office and secrecy again. Khatiwada himself told journalists a few days ago that he would be reappointed as finance minister and take the oath of office on March 4.

Despite his reappointment as finance minister, Khatiwada will not be able to remain in the office for more than six months as his tenure as National Assembly member ended today. He must become member of one of the two houses of the Parliament within six months to continue serving as finance minister beyond that period.

The National Assembly has one vacant seat, which can be filled by the prime minister upon the president’s authentication. However, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Secretariat has decided to recommend Bamdev Gautam to the NA in place of Khatiwada, which the prime minister has rejected. Even if the prime minister goes with the party Secretariat’s decision, Khatiwada can continue as minister for six months from the date of his reappointment.

“Although the PM is yet to take a decision on the matter, he will most probably go with the second option of recommending Gautam to the NA and continue with Khatiwada as the finance minister for the next six months,” said an NCP leader close to Oli.

When asked about how the process would move ahead since the prime minister was in hospital for kidney transplant surgery, the source said the PM might already have readied necessary documents related to appointment to vacant NA member’s post and finance minister’s post and handed over the responsibility of proceeding further to the chief secretary.