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Budget for next FY to focus on completing ongoing projects

B360
B360 January 23, 2024, 11:02 pm
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KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has stated that the forthcoming fiscal year's budget will prioritise the completion of ongoing projects, arguing that traditional policies, programmes, and budgets are insufficient to address current issues.

During a meeting at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) in preparation for the upcoming year's policies and programmes, and budget, Prime Minister Dahal instructed subordinates to prepare for the completion of unfinished projects.

The Prime Minister expressed concern to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and National Planning Commission (NPC) about the practice of neglecting old plans while adding new ones, which has led to poor performance and a waste of substantial resources.

"Development should be planned. There is a practice of demanding development without feasibility study and utility. It is unfortunate that there prevails lack of ownership, deficit of resource and freezing of appropriated budget. We should rise above the situation. All efforts should be put to complete unaccomplished projects," he said.

 

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Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal attend a meeting of the council of ministers in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, on Tuesday, January 23,. Photo: RSS

Despite positive economic indicators, PM Dahal noted that they are still under pressure. He acknowledged several anomalies in development works and urged for a departure from conventional mindsets and working styles.

Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat emphasized the need for austerity measures in light of declining revenue collection at the meeting.

Government's Chief Secretary Baikuntha Aryal stated that amending the upcoming year's policies and programmes, and budget would provide an opportunity for conclusions based on thorough study and discussion.

Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Puskar and department heads of the MoF presented on the current state of the economy.

During the meeting, PM Dahal issued 16 directives. He stated that arrangements should be made to finalise the budget ceiling by estimating resources for the next fiscal year and the following three years.

Before finalising the ceiling, the NPC and the MoF must hold intensive discussions with all ministries by February 3. After these discussions, a joint meeting with all ministries should be held before February 7 to discuss national priorities and resources.

In this context, Prime Minister Dahal stated that projects of national pride should be guaranteed necessary budget allocation as per the approved procurement master plan. The budget for projects and programmes that have been given multi-year resource assurance should be allocated first.

Prime Minister Dahal stated that the budget should be allocated to projects that are well-prepared, included in the project bank, and yield returns. He urged ministries to cease the practice of sending budgets for projects and programmes implemented by provincial and local levels as conditional grants in the middle of the fiscal year.

The Prime Minister called on the MoF to ensure that programmes and projects that contradict project classification standards are not retained at the federal level. He also stressed the need to end the practice of scattering the budget completely, present the principles and priorities of the budget to parliament, and include the ceiling of the ministry budget in the schedule.

Prime Minister Dahal emphasized that the NPC and the MoF should prepare a budget that includes issues raised in parliament and suggestions given by ordinary citizens on the principles and priorities of the budget. He highlighted the need to establish a revenue system to increase production and productivity, expand the scope of revenue, maintain low customs duties on raw materials, and revise the tax structure.

He also suggested prioritising agriculture by implementing a production-based subsidy system and coordinating programmes of related ministries. He advocated for a programme to involve the private sector as much as possible.

PM Dahal stated that ministries should have full access to the budget system and finalise their programmes and projects. He advised the MoF to refrain from adding projects and programmes independently.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Dahal emphasized that once a procedure or guideline has been established for a programme or project, it should not be redeveloped every year.

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