Laxmi Capital News
Khatiwada defends budget share for provinces, local levels

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada hasclaimed that the budget allocation for the provinces and local units wasreduced in view of the inability to spend under the federal setup.

Defending the budget at the NationalAssembly meeting on Friday, Minister Khatiwada said that the Rs 225 billionbudget allocated for the provinces and local units in the current fiscal yearhas remained unspent .

Urging the lawmakers to see the budgetin line with the changed federal structure of the country, Khatiwada claimedthat the budget respects the authority of the provinces and local governmentsto choose their plans on their own.

“We have to understand that there are753 local governments and seven provincial governments now and the budget hasbeen distributed to all these 761 governments,” he said .

Claiming that the Rs 1.2 trillion budgetof the current fiscal year has sourcing for only Rs 1.04 trillion, Khatiwadasaid the budget for the next fiscal year has been increased 40 percent to Rs1.46 trillion .

Refuting allegations that the budgetallocation was against the spirit of federalism, he said the budget aims toinstitutionalize federalism, enhancing the capacity for budget management andexpenditure on the part of the provinces.

He also said that the target for revenuecollection has been increased by up to 35 percent, including the taxationpowers of the local and provincial governments.

“There might be confusion that therevenue collection target has been increased only by 14 percent.” He said. “Weneed to know that Rs 152 million will be collected by the local and provincialgovernments, increasing the revenue target by up to 35 percent from this fiscalyear.”

He claimed that revenue has beendistributed to provinces and local units on the basis of the revenuedistribution law endorsed by parliament. He suggested amending the law iflawmakers want more revenue for the provinces.

He further claimed that the governmenthas adopted a policy of protecting national level industries for the first timeand waiving tax on returns from industrial investment .

Refuting criticism from the opposition,Khatiwada said the budget aims to make economic strides without losing touchwith the ground rather than settling for snail-pace progress. The minister alsorefuted the accusation from the opposition about tax increment . “People havethe right to earn without any limits, but the state will have the authority totax that income with the consent of parliament,” he said.

Claiming that he was among thearchitects of the elderly allowances and that the government feels responsiblefor their timely revision and expansion, he asked the opposition not to worryabout this.

Khatiwada clarified that the budget forthe Prime Minister's Office has reached 12 percent of the total budget as a Rs156 billion budget for the National Reconstruction Authority has remainedunspent . He urged lawmakers not to doubt the democratic commitment of thegovernment.

Earlier, Nepali Congress (NC) lawmakerRadheshyam Adhikari criticized the government motive in allocating 12 percentof the budget to the Prime Minister's Office.

Meanwhile, former prime ministerBaburamBhattarai criticized the budget for failing to meet expectations from a two-thirdmajority government. Taking part in the budget discussion in the House ofRepresentatives on Friday, Bhattarai said this powerful government has let thepeople's hope die and it will not bring about economic take-off .

“Although the two-third majoritygovernment has a huge opportunity to lift the national economy to new heightsthe budget will fail to generate the capital needed for economic take off,” hesaid . He, however, praised some good aspects and programs of the budgetincluding the prime minister's employment program, agriculture modernizationprogram and loans against educational certificates .

Source : MyRepublica, 2ndJune 2018

Click here to download...!