‘Avoid less important programmes’

  • Budget discussion begins
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
‘Avoid less important programmes’

May 18, 2015-

As the government started discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year on Sunday, the National Planning Commission (NPC) has asked ministries to cut “non-important” programmes to generate resources for reconstruction purposes.

The NPC has told the ministries to redesign the programmes with special focus on reconstruction and rehabilitation after the recent earthquakes that caused massive damages, particularly in 14 districts.

“We have told the ministries to submit the programmes by remaining within the ceiling set earlier,” said NPC member Chandramani Adhiarki.

“So they must cut their relatively non-important programmes and projects to make available funds for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and resettlement of quake victims.”

The NPC has fixed the budget ceiling at Rs 735 billion. Adhikari said the ministries, however, have sought a hike in the ceiling to accommodate programmes related to reconstruction and rehabilitation. For example, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure has sought more than Rs 60 billion although it was given a ceiling of Rs 52 billion.

Finance Secretary Suman Sharma said the ministries have been told to avoid programmes that do not yield immediate returns. “We have asked them to relegate relatively less important first priority projects to second, and similar second priority projects to third,” he said.

Although the revenue collection has been hit hard due to reduced economic activities after the quakes, officials are not in the favour of hiking the budget ceiling, but cutting less important programmes.

The government, which has allocated Rs 20 billion for the proposed Rs 200 billion reconstruction fund, aims to collect rest of the amount from the donors. An international donors’ conference has been planned in June for the purpose. The government will also raise all the internal loans planned for this fiscal year and increase the size of the debt substantially in the next fiscal year.

Published: 19-05-2015 08:05

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