Budget fails to please even ruling party MPs

  • FinMin Khatiwada faces ire for saying that he was forced to include Constituency Development Fund
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 1, 2018-

A majority members of Parliament have voiced dissatisfaction at the budget for the upcoming fiscal year irrespective of their parties, saying that it lacks focus and fails to lead the country to the constitutional goal of socialism-oriented state.

Discussion on the document presented by Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada on Tuesday to the joint meeting of the House of Representatives and National Assembly began on Thursday.

While lawmakers from the Madhes-based parties and opposition Nepali Congress bluntly criticised the fiscal plans for “undermining the spirit of federalism and setting baseless goals”, those from the ruling Nepal Communist Party said it failed to embrace socialistic features of economy.

NCP lawmaker Tek Bahadur Basnet said the estimates were traditional. MPs also said there was no adequate budget for the development of rural areas.Gajendra Mahat, NCP lawmaker from Jumla, said the budget was highly centralised and focused only on development of urban areas. “What is there in the budget for my place?” he questioned. Mahat was also critical of the requirement for a House of Representatives member to discuss projects for the Rs40 million scheme with the provincial assembly members and local government representatives concerned to implement the Constituency Development Programme.

Ruling party MPs took serious exception to the remarks of Finance Minister Khatiwada who said he had to set aside funds for the programme under pressure. “I condemn the finance minister’s statement which has defamed MPs,” said NCP parliamentarian Metmani Chaudhary. At a press conference on Wednesday, Minister Khatiwada said he was compelled to include the programme in the budget even though he was against it.

Congress MP Minendra Rijal said the budget had no priorities and would only increase Nepal’s dependence on external resources. He called the targets “unrealistic”. Stating that the government had missed a historic opportunity to raise hopes for a prosperous future, Rijal said the targets on agriculture, tourism and employment were unachievable. “Many programmes in the budget are aimed at doling out cash for NCP cadres,” he charged.

Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal MP Rajendra Shrestha said the budget could weaken federalism as not even 30 percent of it was given to the provinces and local level. “The decision of the federal government to keep 90 percent of revenues with it showed how reluctant it is to promote federalism,” he argued.

Army cannot build expressway: Tripathi

KATHMANDU: Lawmaker Hridayesh Tripathi asked the government to revoke the decision to allow Nepal Army to construct the Kathmandu Tarai Expressway saying that the force lacked expertise and resources to build the project. Commenting on the budget in the Lower House of federal parliament, Tripathi claimed that it was the mistake of the earlier government to award such a challenging project to the NA, inexperienced in such undertakings.

Even as the Army has got the charge, domestic or international contractors would do most of the major work. While local contractors would do soil reinforcing, cutting and filling and cross drainage works, international contractors would build high bridges and tunnels along the course.

Published: 01-06-2018 06:58

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