Despite strong objections from opposition parties, Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has expressed the government commitment to bring about a full-fledged budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 through an ordinance. In a meeting with a delegation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce in Kathmandu the other day, Prime Minister Bhattarai said that the government was consulting with parties and would bring about the full-fledged budget by forging national consensus. Prime Minister’s remarks come at a time when the opposition parties are creating an environment of confusion and uncertainty about the nature of the budget. There is pressure and demand from various quarters for timely and full-fledged budget because delay in budget announcement and partial budget would hit the economic activities of the country which would have a negative impact on the overall national economy. The government activities would come to a standstill if the budget was not announced within a week as the new fiscal year begins on July 16.
Thus, there is no alternative to unveiling the budget within a week, for which political parties should cooperate with the government. The parties should not do anything to obstruct the budget because this is directly related to the country’s economy.
Budget announcement is a routine task of the government. The opposition parties’ move to obstruct the budget is a mere pressure tactic to force the Prime Minister to step down. If the opposition parties succeed in obstructing the budget, it would set a bad precedent in Nepali politics and would also send a negative message both at home and abroad. This would also raise a question about the intention and credibility of the main political parties, namely the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, which claim to be staunch advocates of democracy and democratic ideals. Nepal is already a least developed and backward country and the need of the hour is to accelerate the pace of economic growth and development. Budget is a fiscal document that outlines the course of the country’s economy for the next fiscal year and formulates economic and taxation policies taking into consideration the interest of the nation. As the Finance Minister has already announced the budget for the fiscal year would be guided by the objective of ensuring double-digit growth and brining in more foreign investment as well as creating employment and other economic opportunities. Thus, the parties need to rise above the partisan interests and pay more attention to the interest of the country. The consensus is in greater need at the present political situation than ever before. Now it bodes well if the parties forge a broad national consensus and agree on political matters and also settle differences on budget, if they have any, and create a an environment to present the full-fledged budget.