By Modnath Dhakal Kathmandu, Sept. 16: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma ‘Prabhakar’ said that the government has opened all alternatives to pass the budget ordinance for the current fiscal year 2021/22. “We are putting all our efforts to pass the proposed budget bill from the parliament so that economic activities could move ahead smoothly,” he said to The Rising Nepal on Wednesday evening. As September 15, Wednesday, marks the 60th day since the introduction of the budget ordinance, and it is not ratified by the parliament, the country will fall into budget holiday for the first time in its history from Thursday.
The country has 70 years of history of budget preparation since the first Finance Minister of the democratic system, Subarna Shumsher Rana, presented the first-ever budget in 1951. Meanwhile, there are minimal chances of the ratification of the Replacement Bill announced by the present government to accommodate its programmes as the House session is deferred until September 20. Until the ordinance and bill are ratified by the parliament, the government can’t use the money from the state coffers.
According to FM Sharma, some minor changes were made in the budget of this year in order to address the decision of the court and demands of the peoples’ representatives. The Supreme Court in July had issued a verdict that the announcement of the budget of the FY 2021/22 budget through an ordinance by the outgoing KP Sharma Oli government was inappropriate and against the representative governance system.
“The government has presented the replacement bill just to fulfill the procedure pointed out by the circumstances but there were obstructions in ratifying it from the House. However, there are efforts to forge a consensus among the party on the budget,” said FM Sharma.
However, he said that the country wouldn’t be much affected by the ‘budget holiday’ since the provincial and local government will continue to mobilise their budgets at their respective levels. At the same time, there wouldn’t be any impact on revenue collection which means the income of the government wouldn’t be hampered and accumulated income could be mobilised at convenient times. Minister Sharma hoped that it would be just a matter of days since the ordinance would be passed from the House, development works that were already tendered out would be implemented as usual but their payments might not be made during the ‘holiday period’.