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Budget today: focusing on policy reforms, infrastructure to get push

Written by  Published in Economy Sunday, 13 July 2014 16:00

Kathmandu, July 13 ( CNS) ---Finance Minister Dr.Ram Sharan Mahat will present his seventh budget as finance minister in Parliament on Sunday . The budget that Dr Mahat terms as "reform- and investment-oriented" will outlay significant investments in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and irrigation sectors.

However, for Dr. Mahat and his team, addressing lawmakers' demand for Rs 50 million for each electoral constituency remained the biggest challenge as of Saturday night when they put finishing touches to the budget . Sources said the budget will somehow address the MPs' demand.
The finance minister is learned to have told President Ram Baran Yadav and Acting Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam during his briefings that the budget would be as big as Rs 618 billion.
Sources say education sector will get the largest chunk of budget , followed by local development, energy and health sectors. The government has earmarked Rs 86 billion to the education sector, up around Rs 6 billion year-on-year.
Compared to earlier budget , the government has increased funding for local development by almost Rs 4 billion. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development with get Rs 50 billion, in line with the ceiling fixed by the NPC.
The budget, which will be presented tomorrow by Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, will also address civil servants’ demands for salary hike and propose to dole out funds to parliamentarians for ‘constituency development’ upon framing a guideline.

“In this regard, the government will propose to build Kathmandu-Tarai fast track and a second international airport in Nijgad on its own. Similarly, subsidies will also be extended on agricultural loans, as well as fertilisers and seedlings.” The budget will also address parliamentarians’ demand for upward revision in ceiling fixed on constituency development fund, but with a condition.

Currently, each parliamentarian is demanding Rs 50 million for executing development works in their constituencies up from the existing Rs one million.

Although the government was initially reluctant to extend the sum, ‘it has now agreed to extend certain amount to each constituency upon framing a guideline due to intense pressure from lawmakers’.

Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) benchmark index jumped 13.51 points amid government preparation to present the budget for the Fiscal Year 2014/15 in the parliament at 4 pm.

The market closed at 1036.98 points, which is six-year high record. The market had reached this level earlier on September 8, 2008. The market has observed a massive buying pressure in the first trading hour, forcing Nepse to impose the circuit breaker.

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