Budget likely in mid-July

  • With PM leaving for the US for treatment on Monday, budget presentation may be deferred
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Budget likely in mid-July

Jun 17, 2014-

First it was planned for mid-June, and then the date was shifted to June-end. Now, it seems the annual budget will be presented in its usual time-mid-July.

With Prime Minister Sushil Koirala leaving for the US for medical treatment on Monday, the

government’s plan to present the budget by June-end has been pushed further back.

With pre-budget discussions in the Parliament scheduled to end Wednesday, the government now needs to present its policies and programmes before the budget presentation. The date for the presentation of the policies and programmes is generally decided by the Cabinet.

“I asked Prime Minister Sushil Koirala a day before yesterday when the government would present budget,” said Speaker Subhas Nembang. “I also held talks with Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and Law Minister Narahari Acharya on Tuesday, but they didn’t commit a date and told they would inform me within the next two-three days.”

As per the Parliament regulation, the government can present the budget only 15 days after the conclusion of the pre-budget discussion.

With the Prime Minister away, there are doubts whether a Cabinet meeting will be held in his absence. Although the Prime Minister has handed over his responsibility to Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam to work as acting PM, no former acting PMs have so far held Cabinet meeting. “The law does not bar an acting PM to hold Cabinet meeting,” said Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal. “But there is no tradition of an acting PM holding the meeting.”

Finance Ministry officials say if they have to wait for the Prime Minister to return back home to hold the

meeting, the budget might be presented by mid-July or later.

Minister for Law and Justice Narahari Acharya said although the there is no tradition of an acting PM holding the meeting, it could take place under special circumstances, like present situation.

He, however, said there not decision has so far been taken on this front. Acharya also said they would hold discussions on Wednesday on the

presentation of the policies and programmes and probably would take

decision on the Cabinet meeting.

Nembang said he has asked Mahat and Acharya to inform the Parliament about the date of the budget presentation a week in advance.

Acharya also admitted due to different circumstances, chances are high the budget presentation would be made in usual time. The government had planned an early budget presentation to complete procedures such as budget authorisation and approval of programmes and projects by the National Planning Commission before the start of the new fiscal year, giving government agencies a full year to implement the programmes.

Procedural delays have been one of the main reasons for poor expenditure for the last few years, which has also hit the country’s economic growth. According to

the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), capital expenditure is just 47 percent as of June 16.

Published: 18-06-2014 11:01

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