Finance Minister Mahat rules out possibility of big budget

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Minister for Finance Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat clarified that there was no possibility to roll out extensive and big size budget for the fiscal year, 2023/24.

At a programme organized by the Centre for Economic Development and Administration and the National Economic Concern Society Nepal here today, Minister Mahat explained that it was not possible to introduce big size budget due to the limited resources.

The event was organized to furnish suggestions for the upcoming budget. “The biggest challenge at present is decreased revenue collection. There are limitations to bring expansive and big size budget,” he added. Stating that the incumbent government and himself as the Minister of Finance were putting their best efforts to improve the national economy, Mahat pledged to make sincere efforts to bring about good changes in the national economy during his tenure.

According to him, he saw many problems after assuming his office. “There are many problems in reality than what it seems from outside. I cannot solve all the problems on my own. However, I will put sincere efforts on my part.” “The State mechanism will deliver to its best to improve economy,” he said, calling for cooperation from the private sector to revive the flagging economy. He also assured the government will emphasize efficiency in budget allocation and activeness for its implementation.

At the programme, National Planning Commission’s Vice-Chairperson Dr Min Bahadur Shrestha said they would take suggestions solicited from various sectors into consideration while allocating budget and formulating policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year. He shared that those issues missed out in the upcoming budget would be incorporated in the 16th periodic plan.

Former Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudyal expressed his concern that the government could not build capital and create employment from the investment in the social security sector. “The amount obtained as a loan was also being spent in unproductive sector,” he rued. Poudyal viewed current problems in national economy did not stem all at a once but it was a result of consistently having bad policies for nearly three decade. Shrinking revenue collection and increasing recurrent expenses led to current financial imbalance, he opined, calling for the budget that keeps basic needs in its priorities.

Prof Dr Shivaraj Adhikari commented that economic growth was dismal compared to the investment while jobs were not created compared to the economic growth rate. “The economic problems prevailed since public debt and investment increased but there was no economic growth,” he viewed.