Lawmakers call for early budget

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 15, 2014-

Lawmakers have called for early budget presentation on a fixed date. They said the current practice of presenting the budget just ahead of the fiscal year beginning led to non-spending of resources in development projects.

Over the last six years, delayed budget presentation and late endorsement, and procedural delays in getting programmes and projects approved, have led to delayed implementation of development projects, resulting in poor capital expenditure.

Although the budget was presented in time last fiscal year, capital expenditure remained poor due to delay in getting programmes and projects approved by the National Planning Commission (NPC) and overall weak spending capacity.

Against this backdrop, almost all participants at a meeting of the Parliament’s Finance Committee here on Wednesday agreed the budget must be introduced before the fiscal year begins.

The participants included Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, Chief Secretary Lilamani Pokharel, Former Finance Ministers Bharat Mohan Adhikari and Surendra Pandey, NPC members Kedar Prasad Sanjel, Abdul Rajjak and Govinda Nepal.

Mahat said the trend of spending at the end of the fiscal year is a major reason for poor spending pattern. He said efforts should be made in increasing spending during the period between February and May when days are longer.

Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel echoed Mahat. “The spending trend has to be changed. Otherwise, nothing will happen even if the budget is presented in May,” he said.

Although some lawmakers suggested changing the fiscal year start date, Finance Minister Mahat and government representatives argued there is no need to change the date. Even if it has to be changed, a thorough study has to be carried out, he said.

Former Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari suggested fixing a date for budget presentation either in the constitution or law.

Published: 16-10-2014 09:51

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