NC seeks FinMin’s resignation over ‘leak’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 30, 2016-

The opposition Nepali Congress has demanded Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel’s resignation on moral grounds as information about the size of the budget and its priorities was disseminated a day before the budget was presented to Parliament.

The government on Saturday presented a Rs1048.92 billion budget, exceeding the Rs 909 billion ceiling set by the National Planning Commission.

NC lawmakers Bimalendra Nidhi and Ram Hari Khatiwada, among others, raised the issue during a joint meeting of the largest party’s Parliamentary Party and the Central Working Committee.

The meeting held on the Legislature-Parliament premises in New Baneshwor on Sunday morning criticised the budget presented by the CPN-UML-led coalition government as lacking policy- and structural-level arrangements for its implementation.

A day before the finance minister presented the budget to lawmakers, some newspapers had reported about its size and major programmes.

The NC concluded that the budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 violated fiscal discipline so it could not be implemented. The meeting also decided to take strong position during deliberation in the House on the Financial Bill.

Former Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that the budget broke the ceiling set by the National Planning Commission. This would invite financial “anarchy’ as the projects were proposed without research. “This is a baseless budget that only aims to please all,” Mahat told the meeting.

On the proposed rail link between Kathmandu and China, Mahat said the government had presented the five-year project as if trains would cross the border at Kerung into Nepal soon.

Another former finance minister and NC leader Mahesh Acharya also came down heavily on the budget saying that it would be difficult to meet the revenue target at a time when agriculture output has decreased and industrial environment not favourable. Acharya added that many programmes outlined in the budget were 

too ambitious to be carried out as foreign aid would be unavailable in the expected amount.

Party leaders attending the meeting said the budget would increase inflation and negatively impact the economy.

Welcoming the decision to increase the salary of government employees and the house rent allowance for parliamentarians, the leaders said it would ultimately increase the cost of living for the ordinary people.

Leader Ramesh Lekhak said the ambitious budget would not be implemented, citing the example of the current fiscal year in which 20 percent of the funds are yet to be spent.

Coalition partner RPP-N expresses discontent

KATHMANDU: Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal), a major coalition partner in the government, has expressed its displeasure over the budget.

Some components of the budget seem positive, but there are some serious lapse in it due to lack of discussion among the parties, said party Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affair Kamal Thapa. 

The party has serious reservations over discriminatory allocation of budget under the constituency development programme, said party Spokesperson Mohan Shrestha, referring to the RPP-N meeting on Sunday to discuss about the budget. 

The budget presented by Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel on Saturday has allocated each lawmaker Rs 5 million for constituency development programme and Rs30 million for each 240 electoral constituencies. 

While the salary hike of the civil servants was a welcome step, it will only benefit the senior level officers not the lower ones, Shrestha added. 

He said that though the government’s policies and programmes spelled out the promotion of Sanatan Dharma, it has failed to earmark funds to implement it.

Published: 30-05-2016 08:07

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