Nepal gets budget through presidential ordinance amid violence

A USD 4.5 billion annual budget was announced through a presidential ordinance in Nepal Saturday.

Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 22:14 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal`s caretaker government
announced a USD 4.5 billion annual budget through a
presidential ordinance Saturday after the key session of
parliament was adjourned following violent protests by the
main Opposition Maoists.

Finance Minister Surendra Pandey read out the annual
budget for fiscal year 2010/11 at the National Planning
Commission today in the presence of Prime Minister Madhav
Kumar Nepal after President Ram Baran Yadav promulgated the
ordinance.

Earlier today, the President adjourned the budget
session till December 2 in tune with the recommendation of the
cabinet following an emergency meeting after lawmakers of the
UCPN-Maoist prevented the Finance Minister from presenting the
budget in the House yesterday.

"Presenting the budget through ordinances is painful
for me, but for the nation’s economy it’s very important,"
Pandey said.

The country has been in a political limbo since the
June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Nepal. It has stalled
the country`s peace process and delayed the budget, bringing
the nation on the brink of financial crisis.

The budget accords top priority to employment
generation, agricultural development, construction of
motorable roads in mid-hilly region and creation of investment
friendly environment, Pandey underlined.

The caretaker government has allocated USD 2.39
billion or 52.9 per cent under development expenditure and USD
2.12 billion or 47.1 per cent under regular expenditure in the
budget for the current the fiscal year.

To meet its expenditure, the government will mobilise
USD 2.89 billion from revenue collection and USD 0.87 billion
is expected as grant assistance from various donor agencies.

A deficit of USD 0.746 billion is expected.

The government also plans to hand over 5,400 schools
to communities this year and to provide free Internet service
to all community run schools to boost IT education in the
country.

Besides, the government has also introduced various
incentives to promote tourism in the country ahead of the
Nepal Tourism Year 2011.

Agitated Maoist lawmakers yesterday scuffled with
Pandey and snatched his briefcase containing key documents as
he was about to present the budget.

Earlier this week, the political parties had hammered
out a deal to approve the delayed budget. 3 former finance
ministers - Baburam Bhattarai of the UCPN-Maoist, Ram Sharan
Mahat of Nepali Congress and Bharat Mohan Adhikari of the
CPN-UML were entrusted with the responsibility of settling all
issues related to the budget.

However, the major political parties - the main
Opposition United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist
(UCPN-Maoist) and the 2 largest parties in the caretaker
coalition, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-UML
(CPN-UML), yesterday failed to find a common ground on the
budget and the prime ministerial election.

PTI