Rs. 25 billion is languishing in the treasury while the development works remain in a limbo. This is the reality that cannot be denied and even the government itself has acknowledged the weak performance. It is unfortunate that even with the funds at its disposal, the utilization aspect has not come to fruition. The intention for the revenue generation drive is always to invest in the various sectors whereby employment opportunities open up and the economy sees an upward rise. The measure of the health of the economy is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which does not see any sign of going up in the lack of adequate investment. With the last quarter of the fiscal year running, the prospects look bleak in speeding up the development works, thereby, helping the flow of the idle treasury money into the market. But, there is some possibility that impetus could be given in the last months before the new budget for 2008/09 is due. For the moment, there is no evidence that the expenditure part will pick up to make much of a difference. In the meanwhile, it is reported that works are on for the budget presentation a month earlier in Jestha (May/June) than the usual practice. That will come later, but for the moment the economy seems to be losing steam.
To look at the positive aspect, Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has notched up a victory by fulfilling the target that seemed an impossible task when he had presented the budget on September 19 last year. He succeeded in tapping all the sources that could contribute to the exchequer in a fair manner. The VDIS scheme was a major highlight that brought more people into the tax net than expected, thereby, increasing the government coffers. To look at figures, the revenue collection for Chaitra, 2065 (mid-March to mid-April) exceeded the target set by 31.7 per cent, while on a year-to-year basis the increase was 39.3 per cent. The revenue collection show was well-managed and possibly better than the set target. If there was inefficiency in the way revenue was generated in the past, the recent times have been extraordinary. The revenue generation task has gone better than expected but the sad part is that the investment aspect, that are the development activities, are a cause of concern.
The government has the enhanced capacity to invest in the development works that could oil the economy through greater employment generation and economic activities, but the government, particularly the Finance Ministry, has failed to get the idle funds making its way all across the country in the development activities that are so necessary to keep inflation or rather the price rise in check. What the government has to understand is that raising revenue is the way funds are generated in turn to be invested in people-oriented development activities. Sitting tight on the money stock without utilizing it fruitfully is the main worry to which the government does not seem to have any answer at the moment. As it is the last minute, nothing substantial might result despite some eleventh hour juggling of the funds but it might possibly result in its misappropriation. The government must bear the blame on this score.