Economic diplomacy, disaster management budget’s priorities

Kathmandu, May 29

The government in its budget for the fiscal 2019-2020, has prioritised economic diplomacy besides emphasising issues of national security, Nepal’s dignified presence in international arena and disaster management.

Presenting the budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 today, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said economic diplomacy will be aimed at boosting international cooperation in the areas of development assistance, trade, investment, labour, and tourism promotion.

According to the budget, Nepal’s foreign policy will be based on national interest, mutual benefit and respect, international commitment and responsibility, and justice. “National pride will be boosted in the international arena ensuring independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom and national security,” said Khatiwada.

The budget also aims at boosting relations with all friendly nations, including neighbours, development partners and labour destinations. With a view to forge a common view on national, regional and global issues through extensive dialogue, the government will hold international-level Sagarmatha Dialogue.

The government had in April decided to hold the event on a regular basis with the objective of bringing government representatives, civil society members and academicians to discuss political, environmental and geopolitical issues, as well as other international issues which could be of interest to Nepal.

Besides working to make effective regional forums of which Nepal is a member, the budget also envisages sharing its experiences of its unique peace process as ‘a role model for the world’.

Khatiwada said the government will implement electronic passport system, and offer online entry permits to foreigners visiting Nepal. “Knowledge, skills, capital and technology of non-resident Nepalis will be attracted for socio-economic development,” he said.

On the national security front, the budget for the next fiscal year envisages further strengthening national security system by making security agencies strong, capable, and responsible.  The National Investigation Department will be converted into a professional intelligence institution, read the budget.

“The national security system will be strengthened by implementing the national security policy. The process to establish a national defence university will be expedited to conduct study and research on national security and defence,” according to Minister Khatiwada.

The government has been planning to set up such a university for the past four years.

The government plans to boost physical as well as technical capacities of security units for border security and to control cross-border crime and smuggling.

In terms of disaster risk management, the budget aims at installing a disaster forecasting system in all vulnerable zones where security agencies are based. All mechanisms will be kept on alert and ready for deployment for disaster preparedness, search, rescue, relief and rehabilitation.

“In order to ensure that there’s no shortage of funds during disaster, I have allocated Rs 5.5 billion budget,” said Khatiwada, adding emergency storage centres will be set up in all of the seven provinces.