Congress seeks panel to probe budget leak

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

May 31, 2016-

  • Says Parliament’s sovereignty undermined
  • Obstructs House session

The main opposition Nepali Congress on Monday obstructed the Parliament session demanding a parliamentary panel to investigate budget leak. 

Stating that leaking budget before it was tabled in Parliament is a grave economic crime, the NC said the act undermined Parliament’s sovereignty. Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel presented Rs 1,048.92 billion budget for fiscal year 2016-17 in Parliament on Saturday, but a section of media had on the same day in the morning published the information regarding the government’s financial outlay, including its size and some of its features. 

Monday’s Parliament meeting was scheduled to start thematic discussion on the budget, but it had to be adjourned after four consecutive efforts by the ruling CPN-UML to convince the NC failed. “A section of media carried every detail of the budget before it was tabled in Parliament,” said NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat, a former finance minister. “This is a grave mistake on the part of the government as the move undermined Parliament’s sovereignty. The leak of tax rates and other policies led to huge loss economic loss,” he added.

The ruling UML though said a government committee would investigate into the matter, the NC stuck to its demand that a parliamentary probe panel be formed. 

The Madhes-based parties, which had boycotted the House on Saturday, were present on Monday to rally around the Congress in the latter’s demand for a parliamentary probe panel. 

The opposition leaders claimed that there was exponential growth in the share of insurance company before the budget as the government plan to expand public insurance to 25 districts was leaked. 

But this is not the first time budget was leaked before being tabled in Parliament. An earlier such incident took place in 2011, and then too, UML was in power. Pouncing on this fact, the NC said it has become a pattern that budget gets leaked whenever the UML is in power. 

The budget for fiscal year 2011-12 and its features and programmes had appeared in the mainstream media even before UML’s Bharat Mohan Adhikari read out the government’s financial outlay in Parliament. “This is the second time same mistake has taken place,” said Mahesh Acharya, also a former finance minister and NC leader. “Parliamentary business cannot proceed further unless a probe panel is formed,” he added. 

In 2011, a probe panel led by NC leader Laxman Prasad Ghimire had suggested the government that it remain alert while drafting the budget and to ensure that such mistakes do not get repeated.'

Govt headed for fall: Shashank

NAWALPARASI: Nepali Congress (NC) General Secretary Shashank Koirala said on Monday that the budget announced by the KP Sharma Oli government on Saturday would lead to its downfall. Speaking at a party programme in Nawalparasi, Koirala said, “The government has presented a populist budget so as to please everyone instead of prioritising the post-earthquake reconstruction.” According to Koirala, even the coalition partners—CPN (Maoist Centre) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal—are not happy with the budget.  (PR)


Published: 31-05-2016 08:03

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