Consult all political forces while formulating budget: PM
KATHMANDU, May 30: Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai on Wednesday instructed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to formulate the new budget by holding consultations with all political forces as well as the private sector representatives.
Holding a meeting with senior MoF officials, Bhattarai asked them not to ignore the key players and adopt a policy of import displacement and export promotion so that the country can cut ballooning trade deficit and embark on the path of self-reliance.
“Exports promotion, higher economic growth, employment creation and inclusive development are our priorities. Hence, I suggest the MoF to enforce an action plan for poverty and unemployment reduction and achievement of higher economic growth,” said Dr Bhattarai.
Though Bhattarai noted that the policies and priorities set by the government were fine, he said their implementation were poor and urged the MoF officials to prove their worth.
Referring to his priorities, Bhattarai said agriculture, tourism, hydropower and manufacturing were high in his sectoral priorities and suggested concerned officials to propose special programs that can deliver to the deprived groups and communities.
He also urged the MoF to take private sector into confidence and work jointly to attract more domestic and foreign investments in the country.
In his statement, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun said his ministry was preparing to work with a concrete schedule for winning the trust of the private sector, speed up the capital spending and realize the revenue collections target.
“The upcoming budget will make sure national pride projects get sufficient budget. It will introduce health insurance scheme for citizens, promote livestock rearing and raise investments in the energy sector,” said Pun.
While reiterating that the MoF was aspiring to drive the country into higher growth trajectory, Pun said his ministry has geared up for budget formulation in a transparent and accountable manner by incorporating all sides and sectors. “We will take suggestions and consensus of all while forming budget,” he stated.
Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota´s presentation focused on the status of economy and fiscal performances of the government so far.
“Key economic sectors are not that vibrant. We have not managed to attract foreign investment, spend capital budget and mobilize foreign aid to the extent we wanted,” said he. Though exports in terms of Nepali rupee show a double-digit growth, he said this growth came largely because of dollar appreciation and not the export growth.
He also raised concerns over lack of growth in banks credit to the private sector, particularly manufacturing industry, and capital market turning topsy-turvy.
FM holds talks with business leaders for rebuilding their confidence
Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun on Wednesday said that the country´s upcoming budget for 2012/13 will have numerous incentives that will excite the private sector.
“The new budget will promote investment. The private sector can expect exciting offers in it,” said Pun, who held a meeting with senior business leaders from various private sector associations in a bid to rebuild their confidence, which nosedived amid dissolution of constituent assembly and political chaos.
“It is unfortunate we could not conclude constitution drafting process and prevent political chaos. But what the private sector must understand is this is not the end of the world. Parties will soon restart consultations and country will move in a positive direction,” said Pun. He promised good working environment for the business community and committed to promptly address problem faced by the private sector.
The business leaders, on the other hand, raised concerns over adverse impact of lack of full-fledged constitution and functional parliament and political chaos.
If the government seriously wants to assure the private sector, Suraj Vaidya president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) suggested the government to work out common minimum economic program (CMEP) and operate under its broader framework.
“There seems no better alternative to CMEP, particularly given the present constitutional vacuum and political chaos,” said Vaidya. “We request all the political parties to agree on common minimum economic agenda,” a statement of FNCCI quoted Vaidya as saying during the meeting.