FinMin Mahat urges all to consider difficult circumstances surrounding budget

Published On: June 12, 2023 07:13 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 12: Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has said the government has brought the budget amidst difficult circumstances and urged one and all to take it accordingly.  

In his replies to concerns raised during the deliberations on the government's estimations of revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year 2023-24 in a meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Monday, the minister said the size of foreign and internal debts, the existing scenario of revenue collection, consequences of Covid-19, and the impact of Russia-Ukraine war were taken into account while preparing the budget.   

As he said, the government through the budget has assured that problems would be resolved gradually not instantly. He admitted that the distribution approach in budget-making could not be fully discouraged this time, too.  

"We received commitments for additional foreign assistance. The government sets its priorities on the basis of people's needs," he said, adding that the government had brought the budget not to seek popularity but to implement it. 

Special circumstances such as the increasing debt and a fall in revenue collections and the foreign assistance among others led to a shrunken size of the budget, he added. 

The finance minister told the House that the Parliament Development Infrastructure Program would contribute to increasing capital expenditures. As he said, the program was incorporated in the budget in a bid to address the complaints of parliamentarians that the budget to their respective constituencies was insufficient to undertake development endeavors. 

"The budget to be allocated under the program will not go into the pockets of parliamentarians. It will be spent for road, infrastructure and tourism development and parliamentarians have just their roles in recommending the projects. The budget is capable of getting transferred to the most essential capital budget if it remains unspent," he said.

The program aims to address the people's aspirations for seeing shared responsibility of their representatives in need, according to him. 

In the deliberations over the budget that had run for eight days in the House of Representatives, lawmakers commented on the budget from multiple angles. The government was accused of lacking a clear vision, not internalizing the goals of socialism and of presenting ambitious targets of economic growth and revenue in the budget. Additionally, the government was criticized for 'being unable' to discourage recurrent expenditures and for allocating less budget to agriculture and health sectors. 




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