President endorses Vote on Account Bill

Kathmandu, July 16

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has endorsed the Vote on Account Bill, paving the way for the government to spend one-third of the amount pledged through the budget presented on Tuesday by Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat.

The President authenticated the Bill late in the evening today after the Legislature-Parliament passed it by voice vote. It will come into effect tomorrow, the first day of the financial year 2014-15.

“The Finance Ministry will give the authority to various ministries to start spending one-third of the amount allocated through the budget by the first hour tomorrow,” according to Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma.

A Vote on Account Bill is tabled in the Parliament upon submission of estimates of revenue and expenditure for the upcoming fiscal year. Once it is approved, the government can spend one-third of the expenditure amount proposed through the Appropriation Bill, or the annual budget.

The finance minister, on Tuesday, presented an expenditure plan of Rs 819.47 billion for fiscal 2015-16 at the Legislature-Parliament. Discussions on this proposal are expected to continue at the Legislature-Parliament for the next few weeks before it is endorsed. But since the government also needs to spend money till that time, the Appropriation Bill is passed. The Vote on Account Act provides a stop-gap measure for the government to continue using funds from state coffers.

Today’s approval of the Vote on Account Bill means the government can now spend up to Rs 273.15 billion till the time the Appropriation Bill is endorsed by the Legislature-Parliament.

Of the total budget announced by the government for fiscal 2015-16, Rs 484.27 billion has been earmarked for recurrent expenditure, like salary payment of civil servants, grants to local bodies and debt servicing. Another Rs 208.88 billion has been allocated for capital expenditure, like building various physical infrastructure projects, including reconstruction budget of Rs 91 billion, and Rs 126.33 billion has been appropriated for financing provisions, like investment in state-owned enterprises and principal repayment.

To finance these expenses, the government is planning to raise Rs 475.01 billion through tax and non-tax revenue. Another Rs 110.93 billion will come in the form of foreign grants and Rs two billion through principal repayment.

The resulting deficit will be financed through foreign and domestic loans of Rs 94.96 billion and Rs 88 billion, respectively, and another Rs 48.56 billion of leftover of this fiscal will also be used to finance expenses of next fiscal.

With this expenditure plan, the government hopes to attain economic growth rate of six per cent in fiscal 2015-16.