Results of programmes for economic reforms declared in budget elusive


Kathmandu, Oct 3: Lawmakers have aired views stating that the results of the programmes along with initiatives for improving the economy the government has announced through the budget for the current fiscal year alone are not seen. 

Speaking in a meeting of the Finance Committee under the House of Representatives, the Federal Parliament, today most of the lawmakers censured the government of indifference towards improving the economy.  

Former Finance Minister and committee member Bishnu Prasad Paudel said the country's economy has reached a worrying point and sought the Finance Minister's response on this matter. 

"The economy is on the brink of a slowdown. The government should acknowledge this. There is no room for neglecting this,' he said, adding that most of the economic indicators were in the negative, there is liquidity in the market, but no demand for loans, the foreign development assistance had been cut down and the private sector is passing through an appalling situation in history. 

The former Finance Minister claimed that the government's efforts towards improving the economy are far from adequate and the policies and programmes as well as the status of the implementation of programmes announced through the budget were not satisfactory.

"The Finance Committee calls him (the Finance Minister) to its meetings. He says he will come but does not turn up. The present problems would not be addressed by simplistic questions and responses," Paudel said.

Stating that there has been a notable cutback on demand and supply in the market at present, he said industrial production has gone down, resulting in growing unemployment. The vulnerable position of revenue collection not even capable of meeting the general expenditure is another problem, he added. He further said the capital expenditure has not increased.

Committee member Swarnim Wagle sought an answer from the Finance Minister regarding the implementation status of points number 29 to 46 of the budget statement for improving the economy.

Committee member Gyan Bahadur Shahi queried what action would be taken against the customs employees when a body under the government itself has accepted revenue leakage. He said the use of information technology has not increased in Nepal's tax system.

Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Pushkar said 80 percent of the work procedures and guidelines related to the implementation of the current year's budget have been prepared. He said the Finance Ministry is playing a coordination role in this as the budget implementation is not only the responsibility of the Finance Ministry but also the responsibility of other ministries and bodies as well.

Revenue Secretary Ram Prasad Ghimire said revenue collection is not encouraging even after two months of the current fiscal year. He said the problems should be resolved by identifying them, but they should not be exaggerated.

Joint Secretary Baburam Subedi informed the committee about the present status of the economy, stating that the economic growth rate based on productive price last fiscal year was 26 per cent and 1.86 per cent on the basis of consumer price. The inflation rate last fiscal year remained at 7.7 per cent.(RSS)

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