Timely polls govt's top priority, says Deuba

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that the government was making necessary preparations for holding the local level election in Province 2, and the elections of the state assembly and the House of Representatives in a free, fair and fear-free environment, in top priority.

Addressing the 40th meeting of the National Development Problem Resolution Committee, he expected cooperation and active role of the political parties, the civil society, bureaucracy and the security bodies to hold the elections successfully, which he said were crucial foundations for the implementation of the constitution.

Stating that the government immediately provided relief being sensitive towards the loss of life and property caused by the recent flooding in the Tarai region, PM Deuba spoke on the need of implementing well-planned rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes backed with specific action plan by assessing the damage and identifying needs.

"I direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to carry ahead these tasks as soon as possible in collaboration with the National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the line Ministries as well,” said the Prime Minister adding “I also would like to draw the attention of the Ministry concerned to make arrangements for the repair and rebuilding of the structures damaged by the recent floods and restore the movement of people and vehicles in Province-2 in view of the upcoming elections in that province."

He said that the government has, along with the holding of the elections, focused its attention to creating a favourable environment for increased investment through economic reform programme as well as to achieving prosperity characterised by rapid and sustainable economic growth by making the implementation of the development projects and programmes effective.

Some encouraging signs of improvement have been seen in the economic indicators in the last fiscal year, he said adding that the government has been further enthused by the increase in the economic growth rate from 6.5 to nearly 7 per cent, the fall in the rate of inflation from the estimated 7.7 per cent to 4.5 per cent and the revenue collection remaining at 107 percent of the target.

However, Deuba also expressed worry over the increasing trade deficit.

He further directed the National Planning Commission to formulate the long-term development vision by identifying the prospective areas for promoting the country's economy as per the new concept and maintain a balance between the balance of payment situation and the foreign trade.

The PM urged the Planning Commission to also identify the bases of sustainable economic prosperity for the country.

He added that there was no satisfactory situation in terms of execution of development projects and programmes as well as budget expenditure and output, saying the capital development expenditure remained only 65.5 per cent despite bringing the budget 45 days before the fiscal year ended and various other efforts like strengthened monitoring.

He also directed all ministries and bodies to handover organisations, resources and human resources soon if any programmes and projects are remaining to be handed over at local level.

"I urge all concerned ministers and office-bearers of National Reconstruction Authority to develop coordination for the same," added Deuba.

In the beginning of the meeting, NPC Vice-Chairperson Dr Swarnim Wagle briefed the meeting about the overall economic indices and output indicators, budget expenditure of the fiscal year 2016/17, progress of projects, and implementation situation of decision of 39th meeting of the Committee, among others.

The meeting decided to prepare a structure of local level to resolve administrative problems of local level and to depute human resources by General Administration Ministry with the help of concerned ministry.

Similarly, the meeting took decision on 13 different issues including education, energy and national pride projects.

On the occasion, Ministers briefed the meeting about the activities carried out by their respective ministries and challenges.