Govt to out policy and program early due to PM’s foreign trip

Published On: April 23, 2019 07:22 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 23: The government plans to unveil its fiscal policy and program prior to the pre-budget discussions in parliament keeping in views Prime Minister KP Oli’s foreign visit scheduled for the second week of May. 

Breaking the tradition of introducing the policy and program only after pre-budget discussions to incorporate lawmakers’ suggestion in the budget, the government is to propose the policy and program between May 3 and 5. 

The budget session of parliament is scheduled to commence on April 29, a month before the constitutional deadline of introducing the fiscal budget in parliament. The government should announce the budget on May 29 due to the constitutional provision.

The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the parliament secretariat to plan the policy and program for May 3 during a window period between the foreign trips of President Bidya Bhandari and Prime Minister Oli. 

President Bhandari is scheduled to embark on a nine-day China visit on Wednesday. Upon her arrival in Kathmandu on May 2 the government plans to unveil the policy and program on May 3. According to parliamentary regulations the prime minister should answer lawmakers’ questions on government policy and program. Deliberations on the policy and program are expected to conclude in four days so that the prime minister will manage to respond to the House prior to a week-long visit to north-east Asian countries. 

Prime Minister Oli is to embark on an official visit to Cambodia and Vietnam on May 9, after endorsing the policy and program. The government plans to run pre-budget discussions in the House during Oli’s foreign trip. 

The president unveils the government policy and program in parliament prior to the fiscal budget announcement. The government unveiled the policy and program on May 21 last year after concluding pre-budget discussions in the House. 

The main opposition Nepali Congress has said that it will be objectionable for the government to unveil the policy and program without listening to the opposition voice during pre-budget discussions. 

“We have not received the calendar for the budget session of the House and we are in the dark about the government’s plans so far. But it would be objectionable if the government unveiled its policy and program bending the procedures and traditions of parliament in its own favor,” said Nepali Congress whip Pushpa Bhusal. 

Bhusal added that unveiling the policy and program prior to the pre-budget discussions will close the door for incorporating any suggestions from lawmakers in the fiscal budget. The government should introduce the fiscal budget in line with the policy and program.

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