Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nepal Finance Minister Paudel presents annual budget for 2016-17 (RS 1.05 Trillion)

Nepal Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel presented the annual budget for the next fiscal year 2016-17 on Saturday. Beginning his announcement at the Parliament, the Minister said that he prepared the budget in consultation with political parties, former finance ministers and various stakeholders. The principal objectives of the next fiscal's budget are to implement the Constitution, to reduce poverty and to expedite development works, The Himalayan Times quoted Paudel as saying. He said that the earthquake in 2015, incurred a great loss to the nation and it also affected the fiscal budget, including the capacity to spend development funds.
Paudel said that import and export had both decreased in the current fiscal year. However, the stock market has been dynamic and the internal capital market has been strengthened, he claimed. The Finance Minister also announced that the post-earthquake reconstruction, hydropower, forestry and good governance are among priorities of the next budget. Likewise, the government also reiterated its desire to hold the local elections in November-December this year. Meanwhile, as a part of the implementation of the Constitution, the government would honour members of the Constitution-writing Constituent Assembly with the Constitution Making Medal, according to Paudel. He also announced to pay Rs 200,000 to each of the disqualified Maoist combatants, who were yet to receive the compensation; form a committee to fix criteria of martyrs as a part of the peace process. Paudel said Rs 140 billion has been allocated for the post-earthquake reconstruction. The government also announced the ambitious plan to end load shedding within two years and generate 10,000 megawatt hydropower within 10 years. The government would expedite constructions of ongoing and planned hydro projects in various parts of the nation. Programmes would be held to attract domestic and foreign investment in the hydro projects. Pertaining to the roads, the government said all capitals of seven provinces would be connected via road networks. Roads connecting iconic places in various parts of the nation have been prioritised. Rs 4.2 billion has been allocated for the Postal Highway. All roads of the nation would be categorised as federal, provincial and local roads. Likewise, the government said it would carry out feasibility studies to introduce railways in various parts of the nation. × To promote agriculture, the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project for Rs 5.78 billion has been allocated by the government. The project would aim to make the nation independent in various crops. The government would provide subsidies for fertilisers and seeds for farmers and would provide services to test fertility of soils and seeds. Also, Rs 8.46 billion has been allocated for livestock development. Each district headquarters would get Rs 500 million for urban development. The government also introduced the concept of 'One City: One Identity'. Likewise, it would develop Bhaktapur as the Cultural City. Rs 2.30 billion have been allocated for irrigation projects in Tarai districts. Moreover, the government would establish a Challenge Fund of Rs 1 billion to promote entrepreneurship among youth in the private sectors. Sufficient electricity for industries would be generated within two years. The government would hold an Investors Summit within two years. Several important measures have also been taken in the education sector, like Primary education would be made compulsory and free while secondary education would be gradually made compulsory and free. The government would adopt a strategy to prepare human resources needed for the national development within the nation. The International trade and supply system would be expanded with trade agreements with various nations on a priority basis. (ANI)

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