KATHMANDU, Mar 7: Minister for Finance, Yubaraj Khatiwada, is planning to issue white paper to make public the current economic position of the country and the measures that the government plan to take to deal with the ongoing economic and financial challenges.
According to a senior official at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the ministry is doing internal homework to come up with the white paper that, among others, will outline the current economic challenges facing the country and the efforts that the government will make in the days to come to address those challenges.
“The ministry is currently drafting the white paper. We plan to issue it within a couple of days,” Arjun Prasad Pokharel, the spokesperson for the MoF, told Republica.
White paper refers to the policy prepared by the government that sets out its proposals on crucial issues of the country. Pokharel said that the white paper will be issued after the mid-term review of the budget for the Fiscal Year 2017/18.
Bishnu Prasad Paudel, who was finance minister in the government led by K P Sharma Oli, had also issued white paper in November, 2015, in light of the undeclared trade blockade imposed by India and the devastating earthquakes of 2015 that crippled the country's economy.
With Oli returning to power, the finance ministry is again releasing the white paper amid slow revenue growth, widening trade deficit, negative balance of payment and current account positions and shortage of lendable fund in banking system.
Though finance ministry officials refused to divulge details of the white paper, a source at the ministry told Republica that the white paper is expected to address these challenges along with the issue of sharing and distribution of resources with the provincial and local governments.
The white paper also aims to announce measures to reduce the ever-expanding trade deficit and the initiatives that the government will take to expedite capital-intensive development projects.
MID-TERM BUDGET REVIEW ON WEDNESDAY
Meanwhile, the finance ministry is likely to release the mid-term review report of the budget of FY2017/18.
While the budget was presented by Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara under the coalition government led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, it is unclear whether the new government will completely own the policies and programs pursued by the previous government.
In its budget for the current fiscal year, the government has set a growth target of 6.9 percent -- the highest in the past two and half decades. Development partners, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, however, have already said that the economy of the country is estimated to grow at an average of 4.5 percent in the current fiscal year. Experts are also keenly awaiting the mid-term budget review of the government to see whether the government will roll back distributive programs of the erstwhile government.