KATHMANDU, May 9: People across the country want the upcoming budget to focus on economic growth and sustainability, a survey carried out by parliament’s Finance Committee shows.
The committee had sent teams to all seven provinces to collect people’s opinion as part of pre-budget discussions. The survey shows infrastructure and good governance should get second and third priority.
A sizeable chunk of the government’s spending goes in the infrastructure sector.
The teams talked to 486 people of different walks of life in the seven provinces. Most of the respondents feel that economic transformation can be achieved only by investing in the agriculture sector. About 72 percent of respondents said that the government should invest in the agriculture sector, while one-fifth of the respondents said industrial sector should get priority.
Only a few felt the government should prioritize service sector, according to findings shared at the committee’s meeting held on Wednesday.
The committee had formed two teams which travelled to headquarters of all seven provinces to discuss with people on how taxpayer’s money should be spent effectively. Former Finance Minister Surendra Pande travelled to western part of the country, while another former finance minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki visited the eastern part.
Spending figures of the government shows that more money is spent in transportation and energy sectors. Suggestions of the respondents are also in the same line. Nearly 300 respondents, or 61 percent, said that the government should spend on transport-related projects, while about 30 percent, or 150 respondents, advised the government to invest in energy projects.
In social development category, over 80 percent of the respondents said that government should spend more in education sector, while less than 10 percent said that health and social security should get more government spending.
On the relationship among three tiers of governments, more than 50 percent of the respondents said that all three governments should work in proper coordination.
The committee has compiled all the survey reports and outcomes of focus group discussions and asked the government to prepare budget for the upcoming fiscal year accordingly. It has given 16 suggestions to the government including making amendment to public procurement laws to control the growing tendency of contractors remaining idle after bagging contracts.
Likewise, it has suggested that the government arrange necessary manpower and complete project preparation in time for effective implementation of the budget.
Similarly, the committee has suggested to the government to ensure market access for farmers and help them to build cold storage facilities for storing agricultural products.
Likewise, it has asked the government to immediately start providing one door services for investors and also provide some subsidy on energy bills for export-based industries and also adopt a long-term strategy for making the country self-reliant, among others.