Kathmandu, June 2: Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada Monday clarified to the lawmakers that American assistance of ‘Millennium Challenge Corporation’ (MCC) was continuously in operation for the last three years. Defending the Budget for FY 2020/21 in the House of Representatives, Minister Khatiwada also said that MCC would be continued until and unless the House decided something against it. “It requires approval from the House for the implementation and we are waiting for that,” he said. Lawmaker Durga Paudel had asked Minister Khatiwada to clarify on schedule 3 of the budget in the session relating to MCC. “What will happen if schedule 3 is removed from the budget?” she asked. She said that incorporating the MCC projects in the budget before its approval from the House was inappropriate. Minister Dr Khatiwada, who is also the spokesperson of the government, said that the Prime Minister had already clarified in detail about the compact. The Prime Minister had said that construction of international transmission lines would be carried out with
the investment of the state in case the House did not endorse the MCC compact. Similarly, lawmaker Ram Bahadur Bista asked whether the government would conduct a separate session for Rs 36.02 billion of MCC incorporated in the budget in the House or be endorsed along with the annual estimation. Apart from this, the lawmakers also asked questions about tax reform in electric vehicles, institutionalisation of fiscal federalism through the allocation in the session today. They also expressed their concerns about transferring ownership of community schools to the private sector. Minister Dr Khatiwada said that the government had received positive commitments for the budgetary assistance from multinational donors apart from the global health crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. “There is uncertainty, but we have to work and the revenue gap will be filled either from internal debt or from donors’ assistance,” he said. Minister Khatiwada said that appropriation of federal government would not weaken the federalism because ensured tax bases, grants, transfers and federal allocations strengthen the delivery capacity of the states and local levels. The Finance Minister also refuted the blame that tax rates on the import of electric vehicles were changed. “Tax rate on electric vehicles for public transportation has not been changed but on luxury import tax rates have been revised categorically,” he said. He also tried to clarify that the government did not escape from its duty of providing basic education to the people. “Ownership of the community schools will not be given to the private sector. But budget has allowed them to take up their share of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by way of infrastructure development of the community schools,” he said. Minister Dr Khatiwada also said that the budget was clear, concise and balanced from any angle in view of the current time. “We have followed scientific formulas of ‘National Natural Resources and Finance Commission’ to draft the budget. It is balanced geographically, realistic in nature and aims to address all of the contemporary needs,” he added.