Opposition lawmakers criticize government’s policy and program
May 6, 2019 10:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 5: Leaders of the main opposition Nepal Congress (NC) on Sunday came down heavily against the government for making tall promises in the policy and program for the coming fiscal year despite failing to deliver results on policy and program for the current fiscal year announced last year.
They pointed out key issues like job creation, failure to contain exodus of youths to foreign job destinations, lack of plan to control widening trade deficit and inefficient management of development projects. They also criticized the government for its failure to bring policy and program that are practical and gettable.
Speaking at the discussion on ‘Policy and program for FY2019/20’ in parliament on Sunday NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba blamed the government for making Melamchi Water Supply Project uncertain and not expediting Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project which has missed completion deadline. “The government has promised high growth but is making key projects like Melamchi uncertain. This type of working style and intention won’t work,” added Deuba.
Melamchi Water Supply Project, which was nearing completion, has now turned into a sick project due to political interest and alleged corruption. But the government’s policy and program is silent on this crucial issue.
The government has managed to spend only 38 percent of development budget as of Friday and also failed to effectively implement social security schemes, which it wrongly claimed as its own program, despite launching with much fanfare, Deuba said. He also asked the government to tell parliament how many jobs were created over the past year.
Deuba was referring to the government’s program of ending migration of youths to foreign job destinations abroad over the next five years.
Opposition leader also criticized the government’s plan of building roads fit for landing aircraft. “The country needs all-weather roads. But the government is talking about roads where aircraft can land,” said Deuba, while criticizing the prime minister of being hell-bent on operating ships without considering little progress made on the matter so far.
Deuba, who is also a former prime minister, alleged that the government was not serious about bringing down ever widening trade deficit. “Also, there is not a single credible program in the agriculture sector that can be completed in the next fiscal year,” he added.
In the policy and program for FY20181/9, the government had announced a program to become self-sufficient in major food items by doubling farm output by FY2024/25. The policy and program for FY2019/20 is silent on the program.
Another Nepali Congress lawmaker Dila Sangraula also criticized the government, saying that it has failed to arrange chemical fertilizers for farmers but was helping sugar mill operators by putting restrictions on import of sugar. He also blamed the government for not taking action against mill owners who are still to pay farmers about Rs 8 billion.
Earlier in April last year, the government had announced to take action against sugar mills that have not settled dues with farmers. But later it doubled tax on import of sugar to 30 percent and also fixed import quota to protect mill owners. Though Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli publicly stated that mill owners tricked him into restricting sugar import, the government recently extended import restriction by three months.
“The government has little financial space to implement projects with its resources. But it keeps announcing fancy ideas, leaving out practical projects,” Sangraula said, wondering how the government will create 500,000 jobs in the next fiscal year.
Lawmakers of the ruling Nepal Communist Party like Khagaraj Adhikari and Mahesh Basnet defended the government’s policy and programs.