March 27: The budget preparation for the next Fiscal Year 2020/21 has been partially affected as the government’s focus is on controlling the spread of coronavirus infection.
Usually, the process for budgeting starts from mid-October. In the month of February, the Finance Ministry holds discussions with the concerned ministries about the budget. By the end of February, the information on programs and policies for the upcoming year needs to be sent to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the National Planning Commission. However, the line ministries have not been able to move forward with the discussions about upcoming programs to be included in the budget.
The budget formation for the upcoming fiscal year is in dilemma as the discussions between ministers have not taken place. According to the joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Uttar Kumar Khatri, discussions on budget cannot move ahead for the next 10 to 15 days. He further said that the ministry is preparing to carry out the discussions by evaluating the current situation.
“There is nothing left to do before the national problem is sorted out, that’s why the budget preparation has been affected,” he told New Business Age.
Last week, the Finance Ministry had instructed the Revenue Advisory Committee to collect suggestions and prepare a report on Financial Act and Budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Though nine sub-committees are formed within the committee, they are not able to function. “There was a timetable for submitting suggestions by thematic subcommittees, but no discussion has taken place now,” said Khatri.
In previous years, the committee would prepare the report and recommend it to the ministry of finance based on the suggestions made by the sub-committees of the Revenue Advisory Committee.
Due to the threat of coronavirus, the National Planning Commission has not been able to make preparations for the upcoming budget. A member of the committee Min Bahadur Shahi said that the discussion schedule has been postponed for one week. He further said that they would move forward with the discussion after looking at the situation.
According to the NPC, the discussion on next year’s budget will dwell on providing special concession to the coronavirus-affected areas.