Pre-budget discussion begins today

Kathmandu, May 8

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today consulted former prime ministers on policies and programmes and the annual budget of the government, a day before pre-budget discussion commences.

The government has already drafted the policies and programmes and is preparing the budget. However, coalition partner CPN-Maoist Centre said the government did not discuss the matter with ministers representing the CPN-MC.

Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada will address the Parliament on budgetary theories and priorities tomorrow.

Today Oli met former PMs and discussed aforementioned issues. “We suggested that budget allocation to federal, provincial and local governments should be made in an appropriate way. The policies and programmes should be in line with the left alliance manifesto, people’s aspirations and constitutional provisions,” Dahal told a select group of mediapersons after the meeting.

Leaders and lawmakers of political parties, including the CPN-UML and CPN-MC, have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the government was preparing the budget without consultation.

The budget is being prepared by Finance Minister Khatiwada, along with officials of the finance ministry and the National Planning Commission. The budget is presented as per the policies and programmes formulated by the NPC, but since NPC got its full shape only recently, the government itself drafted the policies and programmes.

“The finance minister’s working style suggests that a political leader is more competent than a technocrat while preparing budget. The finance minister might have the technical knowledge, but lawmakers have been facing problems in incorporating their schemes in the budget, including lawmakers’ development fund, constituencies development fund, local, provincial and federal governments’ budget allocation,” a lawmaker said.

The Parliament’s budget session commenced on May 6. Finance Minister Khatiwada will present budgetary theory and priorities between May 9 and 11.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will address the joint session of the Parliament and present government’s policies and programmes in the third week of May. The House will discuss and pass the government’s policies and programmes in the third week of May after Oli responds to the lawmakers’ queries on the government’s policies and programmes.

As per the constitutional provision, the government will present the budget on May 29 and lawmakers will take part in the budgetary discussion from May 31 for a week.

Minister Khatiwada will respond to lawmakers’ queries on the budget in the first week of June after discussion on the budget begins. The House will begin discussion on ministries’ headings in the first week of June. Discussions will end in the first week of July by passing the appropriation bill, bill to raise domestic debt and loan and bonds bill.

The government has set the budget ceiling at around Rs 1,500 billion.