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Policies and programs: No cost reduction, nor production-oriented new plan

Deepak Bhatta

Deepak Bhatta

 |  Kathmandu

The policies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year 2023/24 have been announced.

It seems that the policies and programs that are meant to guide the next year's budget try to satisfy all sectors since almost all the past programs are repeated.

Looking at policies and programs, it is assessed how the budget for the upcoming year will come. President Ram Chandra Paudel announced the policies and programs prepared by the government for the next fiscal year in the joint meeting of the Federal Parliament on Friday.

There are no new programs in the fields of agriculture, industry, energy and physical infrastructure.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers plays a coordinating role in the policies and programs preparation. The OPMCM coordinates and informs the Ministry of Finance while preparing the policies and program. The Ministry of Finance itself is the coordinating body of the budget.

Now the Ministry of Finance is writing the draft budget. The programs included in the same budget should be kept in the policies and programs.

In the current fiscal year, the income of the government has decreased and the budget is in deficit. With two months left before the current fiscal year ends, the income of the federal government has reached 8 trillion 5 billion while 10 trillion 63 billion rupees have been spent. As of now, the budget deficit of the government is 2.5 billion.

In such a situation, the government should be ruthless in reducing expenses.

Former finance minister and economist Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada says, "This year is the time to cut expenses and set the base for the coming year. It is time not to be too ambitious."

Lawmaker Shishir Khanal says, "The government's policies and programs are not compatible with the traditional, current economic situation. Many activities have been scattered but not of a significant nature and there is no plan for reforms.

But in the policies and programs introduced by the government, green bonds, infrastructure bonds and concessional loans will be mobilized to bring in foreign investment. A unified law will be made regarding development projects to simplify land acquisition, purchase process, and environmental impact assessment.

New programs such as providing 30 units of electricity for free in winter and 50 units in the rainy season, and implementing an automatic wage system for the convenience of workers, are positive aspects of the policies and programs.

Lawmaker Khanal argues that there is no such program to run the economy in a new way when the economy is sliding toward stagnation.

However, Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, while leaving the Parliament meeting, claimed that the government has brought policies and programs for the next financial year to address the needs of the country.

He said, "The new is not something to be invented. What is the basic need for the country, those things have come in the policies and programs of the government.

The policies and programs have not cut the service facilities provided so far, nor reduced the costs of the projects. Instead, some programs of public opinion are kept."

Similarly, special programs have been included to lease government land and community forests. It has been said that a high-level committee will be formed to study the situation of closed industries.



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