Budget goals are attainable says finance minister

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The finance minister tells National Assembly that the fiscal budget was decided after a thorough assessment of the country’s economic situation

Jun 2, 2018-Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada on Friday defended the criticisms against the budget goals of the government by terming them grounded, realistic and attainable.

In his concluding remarks on the theoretical discussion of the recently unveiled budget in the National Assembly, Khatiwada claimed that the budget was neither ambitious nor close-fisted, as it was formulated after a thorough assessment of the country’s economic situation.

He said the target of achieving an eight percent growth rate in the upcoming fiscal year was possible and so were the targets set for employment generation, student enrolment and literacy. The opposition lawmakers in the Upper House have slammed that the budget as lacking in focus and setting unattainable goals. They have also expressed their reservation regarding old age allowance which remains unchanged.

Responding to the objection raised by the opposition lawmakers concerning the old age allowance, Finance Minister Khatiwada claimed that he was the person behind the old age benefit scheme in the first place and he knew what he was doing.

“I was the architect of the old age allowance scheme when it was first announced in the budget that was presented by the Manmohan Adhikari government. Our party owns it more than anyone else,” he said.

Concerning the criticism that the government was parsimonious while allocating budget to local and provincial governments, Khatiwada said it was so because the country was still in the process of adopting federalism.

“We are still in the transition phase of adopting federal set-up. The budget share shall increase after the things are put to proper order, when the country has well-functioning federalism,” he said. Lawmakers, particularly those from the Madhes-based parties have blamed the government of trying to weaken the provinces and local bodies by allocating just 30 percent of the total budget.

MPs continue to criticise finance minister

KATHMANDU: The ruling MPs continued to spew diatribes against Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada for his remarks that he released the budget for Constituency Development Programme (CDP) under pressure. They said that Khatiwada’s statement defamed the people’s elected representatives.“The money is not the alms given by Finance Minister,” said Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal’s leader Pradip Yadav. “We are elected representatives. I challenge minister to get elected at the ward level first.” Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties have been attacking Khatiwada for his remarks that he allocated Rs 40 million for the CDP under the pressure from lawmakers. Nepal Communist Party lawmaker Aman Lal Modi said, “A nominated representative like Khatiwada cannot understand people’s aspirations which has been reflected by his action.”

Published: 02-06-2018 07:05

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