Thu, 29 Feb, 2024

Futile Hope : The New Budget Of Nepal

By Giriraj Khatri

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The budget for the fiscal year was released a week ago and it so happens that the information was leaked before the finance minister presented it to the parliament. Although it did not hit the media hard, the opposition party has been pressurizing to form a committee to probe into the leakage of vital information by halting the works of the parliament. Well, a leaked budget is not necessarily a bad budget.

The budget size is comparatively big amounting to 819 billion for this fiscal year increasing by 29 percent from last year. Having a big budget does not mean that Nepal will take a big leap on the path of development. The prosperity of the country is more than impossible with political instability and the prolonged power cut. When two fundamental wheels of development are punctured then just increasing the power of the engine will not ascertain development.

The major beneficiaries of this budget are the bureaucrats and the parliamentarian. The government employees have their pay hike by 25 percent. Let’s hope that the increment in the salary will lead to the decrement in corruption rate which has been ever increasing. The other people who will have an advantage of this budget are the farmers as they are receiving subsidies on agricultural products and a low-interest loan. But that’s enough for our country where 80 percent of total population is engaged in agriculture. The senior citizens and widows can also be happy with the doubling of their allowances. The budget speech has somewhat addressed the demands of the years of sitting protest by the senior citizen. Apart from these, the budget has allocated one tenth of the budget for reconstruction and this should be carried out with great priority. If this amount is utilized properly then it will not be difficult for Nepal to rise again.

The KP Oli government has been much criticized for the budget with his own deputy prime minister expressing disagreement. Along with the announcement of the budget,  the other thing that was a talk of the town recently was reinstating the Oli government, leaving futile hope for the implementation of the budget.

When the most abundant resources like water and tourism are not prioritized then the budget cannot be effective. Instead of addressing all the issues just to keep the government alive, it is always better to focus on a particular field where the country can gain maximum yield.

We pray that the budget will not remain on the file that is stored at Ministry of Finance instead brought into action for the prosperity that Nepal deserves.