FinMin: Price rise not due to budget

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 29, 2018-

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada refuted charges that market prices had gone up because of the budget. The price increases seen recently in the market are artificial, and have nothing to do with the government budget, he said Thursday.

Prices of essentials shot up following the release of the annual financial plan on May 29 ostensibly due to higher taxes. According to Khatiwada, the government has revised the tax rate only on luxury items and goods that harm the environment. “The price hike is an attempt of vested groups to take undue benefits on the pretext of the budget,” Khatiwada told the House of Representatives.

Despite the finance minister’s claim, prices of most essentials including wheat flour, pulse, edible oil, vegetables and packaged foods have soared in the domestic market. Electronic goods have also become dearer.

“Many distributors and wholesalers have raised their prices citing the budget. As a result, retail prices have also gone up,” said Pawan Jajodiya, proprietor of Jajodiya Khadya Store at Gyaneshwor.

Khatiwada said that the government was committed to ending the artificial price hike and other malpractices going on in the market. “The government is working to eliminate cartels in the goods market after ending similar wrongdoings in the transport sector.”

Countering charges by lawmakers that the government had raised the tax burden of the people, Khatiwada said the government had revised the income tax slab nominally.

“A rise in value added tax may increase the price level, but it has not been changed. The government has revised the excise duty on a select range of products to stem imports,” Khatiwada said.

The finance minister also said that there would be adequate funds for any type of development project run by all three tiers of government. According to him, the federal government will successively hand over development projects to the provincial and local levels as their capacity improves.

Published: 29-06-2018 08:36

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