Govt budget draws flak from lawmakers

Kathmandu, July 15:

Members of Parliament (MPs) from various parties today criticised the budget presented by Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat for the fiscal year 2007-08. The MPs were taking part in a discussion in the parliament today.

They said the budget was not development-oriented.

MP Govinda Raj Joshi asked, “Why did the government not come up with a development-oriented budget?” He said it is not appropriate to allocate Rs 93 billion for general expenditure and Rs 75 billion for development activities.

Joshi wondered whether the budget is a speech of Dr Mahat. “If not, why does it not reflect the ideas of other political parties?” “This is like a PhD thesis rather than a budget,” he said.

Pointing that the budget aims to generate 5,000 MW of electricity, he questioned, “How can the goal be accomplished without the allocation of funds?”

NC (D) MP Pradip Giri questioned the government’s motive of not allocating sufficient budget for health, education and agriculture sectors. Noting that the government had allocated Rs 7 billion for the Nepal Police, UML MP Raghuji Panta said, “Why did the government allocate only Rs 5 billion for the agriculture sector?” “This instance shows that the government has not given due priority for the development of the agriculture sector,” he said. Maoist MP Janardan Sharma said that the budget appears to be a document prepared by government employees. “This document has not given anything new; it has just given continuity to old practices.”

He claimed that the budget could not reflect the changes in the country. Over 70 lawmakers participated in the discussion today. Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat will answer questions raised by MPs tomorrow. The budget is expected to be passed thereafter.