National Assembly starts pre-budget discussions

KATHMANDU: The National Assembly has started discussions on the principles and priorities (except tax proposal) of the Appropriation Bill for the Fiscal Year 2018/19.

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada had presented a proposal in the NA meeting on Wednesday seeking discussions on the Bill.

Taking part in the discussions, Balram Prasad Baskota said the roadmap — for building a prosperous and happy Nepal incorporated in the proposal presented by the Finance Minister — was positive.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari commented that the country's economic situation was not as projected in the White Paper that Finance Minister had earlier presented.

On the Appropriation Bill, he said the budget for the education sector has decreased and the Bill failed to incorporate the higher education and research, maintaining the educational standard of the community schools. He called for allocating budget for the Sunkoshi Kamala Diversion Project, urging the Finance Minister to come up with a clear concept regarding the human resource development.

Likewise, CPN MC lawmaker Jeevan Budha said, although he concurred with the prioritisation of the Appropriation Bill regarding the basis of economic prosperity, the tendency of allocating budget to remote and accessible areas by putting them in the same basket was wrong. He called for increasing the budget allocated to the remote areas.

UML politburo member Ramprit Paswan said conceptualising capitalist economy under the cover of socialist economy was in itself wrong, adding that development would be impossible without resolving the problem of class and caste disparity. He demanded that the budget should focus on reducing this disparity.

The National Assembly meeting is underway.