Budget deal in Nepal amid financial crisis

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 19:09

Kathmandu: Nepal`s political parties
today hammered out a crucial deal to approve the delayed
budget on November 19, amid a constitutional deadlock over the
formation of new government that has sparked fears of a
financial crisis in the country.

The main Opposition United Communist Party of
Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) and the two largest parties in the
caretaker coalition, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of
Nepal-UML (CPN-UML), agreed to endorse the annual budget for
the current fiscal year after a marathon meeting in the
capital.

The UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have
agreed to announce the budget on November 19 despite the
ongoing political stalemate over election of a new Prime
Minister, Jhala Nath Khanal, the chairperson of the CPN-UML
told PTI.

The government plans to bring a Rs. 220 billion budget
for the current fiscal.

Three former finance ministers Baburam Bhattarai of
the UCPN-Maoist, Ram Sharan Mahat of Nepali Congress and
Bharat Mohan Adhikari of the CPN-UML have been entrusted with
the responsibility of settling all issues related to the
budget.

In effect, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey is set to
present the budget on November 19 in Parliament.
The country has been in a political limbo since the
June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. It
has stalled the country`s peace process and delayed the
budget, bringing the nation on the brink of financial crisis.

The government is facing serious fund crunch as it
failed to approve the budget due to the failure to elect a new
prime minister even after sixteen rounds of election in
Parliament.

The caretaker government aims to push the annual
budget amid warnings that it is running out of money, finance
ministry officials have said. They have warned that the
country would face a severe crisis if the budget is not passed
this week.

According to the ministry, the budget currently
available in state coffers is not sufficient even for the
essential services for the month of November.

The Parliament approved an interim budget to allow the
caretaker government to run day-to-day activities for four
months and pay civil servants, but that expires this week.

Nepal`s 17th run-off poll for a new prime minister was
put off yesterday when no clear winner was expected to emerge.

65-year-old Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra
Poudyal, the sole candidate who is adamant over not quitting
the prime ministerial race, has failed to garner a majority in
Parliament despite series of run-off polls.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 19:09

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