May 15: The government is in dilemma on whether or not to give continuity to the much criticized Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2020/21.
The revenue collection has been weak due to the severe effects of lockdown on economic activities. The government is also facing a huge challenge to invest heavily on health infrastructure and employment programmes with the existing resources. Due to this, the officials at Ministry of Finance are not sure about giving continuity to this program in the upcoming budget.
According to informed sources, the National Planning Commission has given the nod to the finance ministry to decide on this matter. Most of the members of parliament (MPs) from the ruling party are in favour of giving continuity to the programme. Due to this, the Ministry of Finance also is looking forward to including it in the budget. If the program is included in next year’s budget, the government is likely to allocate less amount of money than in the current fiscal year, said an official at the Ministry of Finance.
In the current fiscal year, Rs 600 million was provided to each of the directly elected MPs for the infrastructure development programme. In the current fiscal year, around Rs 23 billion has been allocated for the programme.
“Discussions are underway to allocate less budget for the programme due to limitation in revenue collection,” said a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Finance.
Minister for Finance Yub Raj Khatiwada was not in favour of giving continuity to this programme even for the current fiscal year. This time too, he is not supportive, said sources. However, due to the pressure from the ruling party members, there is high possibility of continuing this programme.