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Sunday, May 26, 2019

MoF under pressure to allocate resources in upcoming budget

Kathmandu, May 26

A core team at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), including Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, Finance Secretary Rajan Khanal and Revenue Secretary Lal Shankar Ghimire, is currently busy drafting the budget for fiscal year 2019-20.

While MoF officials confirmed that the Economic Survey and Annual Status Update of public enterprises, which the government will unveil on Monday and programmes to be accommodated in the budget for the upcoming fiscal, have been finalised, the budget-drafting team is yet to ensure and allocate necessary resources for those programmes that have been finalised in the budget.

MoF officials were reluctant to disclose details of the programmes that have been finalised in the budget.

However, they hinted that the budget will give space to some populist programmes like raising the salary of civil servants and increasing allowances for elderly people. “As Finance Minister Khatiwada has already announced that the budget will adopt a few resourceassured populist programmes, budget is being prepared accordingly,” informed an official of Finance Ministry seeking anonymity.

Civil servants have been demanding increment in their salary by 25 per cent through the budget citing that the government has not revised their salary since the last two years. However, the government is preparing to raise civil servants’ salary by up to 15 per cent only as MoF is facing resource shortfall. However, MoF officials also informed that the government might increase allowance for civil servants instead of raising salary as raising salary will comparatively create more financial liability on the government.

Similarly, discussions are also underway at MoF to raise the allowance for elderly people by Rs 500.

Uttar Kumar Khatri, spokesperson for MoF, said that the budget will be based on the programmes and policies of the government announced earlier and the 15th five-year periodic plan released by the National Planning Commission (NPC). “MoF has received numerous suggestions for programmes from different ministries. However, the budget will be based on goals envisioned by the aforementioned two documents,” he added.

The NPC has provided a budget ceiling of Rs 1.5 trillion for upcoming budget.

However, different ministries have collectively sought over Rs two trillion budget for 2019-20. As a result, MoF is under immense pressure to accommodate and allocate projects and programmes in the next budget amid resources deficit.

Meanwhile, experts have urged the government to introduce a budget that does not exceed the ceiling fixed by NPC. Citing that government has not been able to improve its spending capacity though size of the annual budgets have been expanding since past few years, they have suggested the government to focus on project implementation and improve development expenditure instead of merely increasing the size of the budget.

The post MoF under pressure to allocate resources in upcoming budget appeared first on The Himalayan Times.

from Business – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2EzT08e

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