January 25: The government has completed the half-yearly budget review without amending its target despite the financial crisis created by coronavirus pandemic.
Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel announced the budget review amid a low-key meeting involving secretaries and officials of the concerned ministries on Sunday (January 24).
Finance Minister Poudel did not amend the government’s target although it seems almost impossible to meet them due to the impact of coronavirus.
During the review, Finance Minister Poudel accused the weaknesses of concerned ministries in spending the capital budget for the poor situation of budget expenditure. He also accused the ministries of shying away from their duty. He also laid the blame on government employees for the low expenditure.
He added that the ministry had facilitated in increasing capital expenditure even during the pandemic by adopting health safety measures but that was not possible due to lack of policy-level decision. He claimed that the economy battered by coronavirus can be revitalized by implementing the budget.
The mid-year review has identified several challenges in implementing the budget.
Minister Poudel pointed out to non-budgetary demand, additional budget, budget transfer, lack of attention in budget allocation among others as the major challenges for implementing the budget.
Delay in introducing work procedure, criteria, directives and laws are also some of the setbacks in implementing the budget, according to Minster Poudel.
The government also faced another challenge in implementing the budget due to the unexpected announcement of election and the need to import Covid-19 vaccine.
Experts say that the government is nowhere close to achieving its target mentioned in the annual budget for the current fiscal year.
They argue that the government is unlikely to meet its target because the ruling party has been engaged in intra-party rift since a long time while it hasn’t taken any solid steps to revitalize the economy that has been badly affected by coronavirus.
Former Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Poudel says that the current government has pushed the country towards further crisis. He said that the financial indicators in the first six months of the current fiscal year are not satisfactory. He informed that the pace of development was extremely weak considering the mid-year review report.
Likewise, former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission Jagdish Chandra Pokharel said that poor financial indicators in the mid-year review done by a majority government is not a good sign.
The mid-year review of budget shows that government has been able to spend only 14.4 percent of the total budget or just Rs 50.82 billion for capital expenditure.
The recurrent expenditure of the government stood at Rs 342.36 billion or 36.08 percent.