KATHMANDU, May 27: Former finance ministers and former vice-chairmen of the National Planning Commission (NPC) have cautioned the government that a full budget introduced through ordinance in the absence of the federal parliament could invite massive economic instability in the country.
Issuing a press statement on Thursday, a group of nine former vice chairmen of the NPC said it is not appropriate to introduce a full budget through ordinance when the case related to dissolution of parliament is sub judice in the Supreme Court. “The Constitution has made a provision to introduce the budget on May 29 only when the federal parliament is in place,” reads a statement signed by Prithvi Raj Ligal, Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, Shankar Sharma, Pitamber Sharma, Dinesh Chandra Devkota, Dipendra Bahadur Chhetri, Govinda Raj Pokharel, Min Bahadur Shrestha and Swarnim Wagle.
They have also expressed worry that the government may choose to introduce a populist budget to influence voters in the upcoming elections, take excess public borrowing and revise the tax rate, among others, if the full budget is introduced through ordinance.
Similarly, a meeting of the Former Finance Ministers’ Forum held on the same day, asked the government to introduce only a partial budget to properly manage recurrent government expenditures. It is an international practice that the full budget cannot be enacted when the dissolution of federal parliament is a sub judice case in the Supreme Court, reads a statement issued by the Forum.
Former finance ministers Prakash Chandra Lohani, Ram Sharan Mahat, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Surendra Pandey and Barsha Man Pun were among the participants of the meeting. They have maintained that the budget now has to focus on the construction of health infrastructures, procurement of health equipment and other medical supplies and relief packages to help deprived groups, differently abled persons, helpless and unemployed people disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.