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Political row put on hold 3 key bills on budget

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Jul 14, 2016-

Three bills related to the budget for the next fiscal year—Financial Bill, Bill on Raising Public Debt and Loan an Guarantee Bill—could not be passed on Wednesday following opposition from the newly formed alliance of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN (Maoist Centre).

The bills are crucial for the government to increase and decrease taxes, domestic and foreign loans.

Despite the delay in passing these bills, government officials maintain calm saying that it would not affect the implementation of the budget for the next fiscal year as the appropriation bill has already been passed.

Revenue Secretary Rajan Khanal said the government could raise tax as per the Collective Tax Recovery Act 2012 until Financial Bill is passed. Based on the same Act, a notice on taxation has already been published in Nepal Gazette, according to him. As per the decision of Work Management Advisory Committee headed by the Speaker, the bills were supposed to be approved by Parliament on Wednesday.

But a parliament meeting scheduled for 11am could not be held on Wednesday as NC and CPN (Maoist Centre) leaders remained opposed to passing the government’s bills. It was rescheduled for 3pm but dispute continued for more than two hours. They argued that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli did not resign despite falling into minority after the Maoist Centre withdrew from the government.

As per the new parliamentary rules, the meeting is postponed automatically if a parliament meeting does not take place within two hours from the scheduled time. Another meeting of Parliament has been scheduled for Friday to decide on the bills.

NC and Maoist Centre lawmakers said they did not cooperate in passing of the bills as the PM Oli did not resign even after falling into minority.

NC lawmaker Mahesh Acharya told reporters that more discussions were needed regarding the passages of the bills given that the no-confidence motion against PM Oli has been registered at Parliament. “Following the registration of no-confidence motion, a new situation has emerged. A decision on these bills will now depend on how the no-confidence motion progresses,” said Hit Raj Pandey, chief whip of the Maoist Centre.

But the ruling CPN-UML remains adamant to give up without fighting. UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said that the government wanted the bills related to the budget be passed normally. “As they are plotting conspiracy against the bills, they cannot expect us to remain idle when it comes to tackling their interests,” he said.

Published: 14-07-2016 09:02

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