Budget ceiling may cross ‘Rs800 billion’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Budget ceiling may cross ‘Rs800 billion’

Jun 5, 2015-

Although Friday’s Resource Committee meeting did not revise the ceiling for the budget for the next fiscal year, NPC officials said the ceiling would cross Rs800 billion.

The meeting was chaired by National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice-chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel.

Before the earthquake struck the country on April 25, the committee had fixed the ceiling at Rs 735 billion, and discussions had started on budget programmes.

As resource needs would rise for reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and distribution of relief to the victims, the size of the budget is bound to increase. The government has pledged Rs200,000, including Rs15,000 for purchasing  galvanized zinc sheets, to each household affected by the quake.

“The size of the budget will remain between Rs800 and Rs900 billion,” said NPC member Chandramani Adhikari who participated in the meeting. “We could not determine the ceiling on Friday as we could not get a clear picture of the potential resource availability from the Finance Ministry.”

NPC is expected to fix the ceiling in the next meeting scheduled for Monday. With revenue collection expected to slow down in the next fiscal year, the government has to depend more on internal loans and foreign aid.

A Senior Finance Ministry official said it would be difficult to achieve the revenue collection target of Rs512 billion, which was fixed based on budget ceiling of Rs735 billion. The Finance Ministry has notified the same to the Resource Committee.

As the services sector—especially tourism, insurance and banking—has been hit hard by the quake, revenue collection is expected to remain low next fiscal year. However, reconstruction activities are expected to generate some revenue for the government.

“We expect least Rs200 billion aid commitment from donors and raise internal loans of Rs100 billion. The government is scheduled to organise an international donors’ conference in Kathmandu on June 25 to attract foreign aid.

Earlier, the government had aimed at to receiving Rs148 billion in foreign aid and raising Rs74 billion in internal borrowings for the next fiscal year. The government also expects to save some resources from the current fiscal year’s unspent budget and put the funds in the recently announced reconstruction fund.

A recent NPC directive to ministries to cut recurrent expenditure by 15 percent under many headings and decrease other miscellaneous expenditure such as foreign trips are also expected to save money.

As per the special guidelines set by the NPC, the ministries should not to buy any vehicles except for construction and goods delivery purposes. They should not buy sofa sets, carpets, and curtains and should cut fuel facility to officials ranked above first class officer by 15 percent, among others.

 

Published: 06-06-2015 10:47

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