Government is Preparing to bring Transformational Budget: Finance Minister Pun   

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Government is Preparing to bring Transformational Budget: Finance Minister Pun   

Kathmandu: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun has said that the government is preparing to include reformative and transformative plans and programmes in the upcoming fiscal year's the budget rather than  adopting strict policies.

Addressing a pre-budget discussion programme organised by the Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal (SEJON) on Thursday, Finance Minister Pun said the government shall lift up the confidence of the private sector and adopt reformative and transformative policies in some sectors to improve the slowdown seen in the economy at present.    
He said that the government received suggestions to adopt interventionist policies in order to improve the economy, but the government will not go to extremes.

"Some areas are in need of transformation and not just reform," he added.    
According to the finance minister, the government is committed to protecting the investment, trade, business, and property of the private sector.
"The government is committed to synchronization between the fiscal policy and the monetary policy," Finance Minister Pun said.    
He also maintained that a change in the tax rate to be made through the next fiscal year's budget would be done by justifying its need and appropriateness.    
"We will not make changes to the tax rate under anyone's influence. The Economic Bill will have three columns specifying the reasons and justification for the change in the tax rate. We will clarify the reasons for the change in the tax rate,” he added.

Finance Minister Pun also pledged to increase the government’s capital expenditure.

“Although a double digit economic growth is not possible, we are hopeful of achieving an economic growth of 7.5 per cent," the Finance Minister said.    
On the occasion, President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Chandra Prasad Dhakal opined that the overall economy is in problem due to the slump in both market demand and supply.    
He claimed that the government has given a message of creating investment-friendly environment by changing the laws in a short time through ordinance. The FNCCI president suggested that the budget for the upcoming fiscal year should keep the demands and suggestions of the private sector in priority. He suggested to the government to also maintain uniformity and harmony between the budget and the monetary policy.    
Dhakal also suggested announcing the Investment Decade through the upcoming fiscal year's budget and to provide concessions to the industries creating a large number of jobs.    
According to him, the tax imposed on the merger and acquisition of banks and financial institutions has sent out a wrong message.    

Kamalesh Kumar Agrawal, President of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, highlighted concerns regarding the national capital's development. He pointed out the challenge posed by the current negative growth rate in the production and construction sectors.

He mentioned that the number of blacklisted entrepreneurs is increasing due to their failure to pay back the loan of the banks and financial institutions. He added that the economic slowdown resulted from the tight finances and monetary policy brought by the government after COVID-19.    
Similarly, President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, said the private sector is focusing its attention on how to protect their investment rather than increasing investment.    
"A point of view of looking at the private sector should be changed. National capital building is decreasing due to our contradictory policy," he said, pointing out the need of bringing budget with a focus on investment in infrastructure.    
He suggested that there was necessary of quality measuring and labeling of imported goods, and imposing two-level customs tax on raw materials and produced goods.    
Meanwhile, President of Nepal Bankers' Association, Sunil KC, shared that the banking sector is currently in a difficult situation.    
"The banking sector has accumulated an investable amount of Rs 500 billion. But the loan investment will not increase until the morale of private sector is boosted. It is necessary to increase financial access of small and middle-scale enterprises rather than providing concession," he underscored.    
Similarly, President of the Independent Power Producers' Association, Nepal, Ganesh Karki stressed the effective implementation of the budget. He suggested taking the private sector on board in the electricity transmission line and power trade.    
Confederation of Banks and Financial Institutions, Nepal (CBFIN) president Upendra Paudel suggested bringing foreign investment in the banking sector.    
Registrar of Kathmandu University and economist Achyut Wagle said although all sides know about the status of the economy, they have not been able to carry out works towards resolving the economic issues.    
President of the Nepal Automobiles Association Nepal, Karan Chaudhary, said the automobiles sector is facing problem.    
He explained, "Make in Nepal policy has not become effective, the state has not put the auto sector in priority saying it is unproductive sector." -- RSS


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