The budget

Editorial

The government presented an annual budget of Rs 1,474 billion for fiscal year 2020/2021.
The amount is Rs 58 billion less than the budget presented in the last fiscal year.

Unveiling the federal budget for the next fiscal year, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that Rs 948 billion has been allocated for recurrent expenditure, Rs 352 billion for capital expenditure, and Rs 172 billion as financing.

Though the budget size is small, it has managed to allocate a significant amount for the health sector which is an immediate priority at present. It has tried to address some concerns of the private sector by supporting the industries to revive. But it should have come up more openly for the private sector. We had demanded that the government introduce a stimulus package of at least five percent of the country’s GDP but the government has introduced a package of about four percent. These supports will help us revive but we are weak in the implementation part so it needs to be taken into consideration. We had asked for tax and electricity bill exemption for the industries but that was not included.

The expectations we had from the government regarding the budget plan were not met. We had particularly focused on a Job Retention Fund for the survival of the industry. The tourism industry cannot be revived right after the COVID-19 risks are curbed; it is expected to be affected for a long time. There are a few positive pointers the government has introduced but the main thing is the implementation part and evaluation of the projects to make sure that the investment made is protected. The budget the government has presented this fiscal year is not enthusiastic for the tourism industry. There is an immediate crisis in the tourism sector but instead of addressing that, the government has introduced programs for the long run. The concern is surviving the tourism industry and the government should have prioritized that part.

If the programs were concretized, it would have been easier in implementation and make them result-oriented. The government should have interlinked programs and prepared a strategy but it failed to do so. There is ambiguity in the intention of the government. Though it has mentioned the decentralization of the power in the beginning, the statement has not been established in the program presentation. Power for the programs like agriculture and social security fund (SSF) that can be mobilized by provincial and local level has been exclusively held by the central government and simply put by stating that it will be implemented through coordination. It seems the government has taken the situation and economic context we are in, very lightly. It was an opportunity for the country to rise above the traditional way but sadly it could not materialize this time also.

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