KATHMANDU: The Baburam Bhattarai-led caretaker government came under fire from former finance ministers for financial indiscipline and inefficiency.
They blasted the government for failing to crack the whip on price hike and corruption that have brought misery to people and added to the government’s financial liability. They said this will destroy Public Enterprises and damage the country’s financial structure.
Former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the government has failed to create investment-friendly climate and that has brought down the contribution of industry to the economy. The government has failed to walk the talk and is trying to be populist with new programmes every couple of months, by doling out taxpayers’ money to party cadres without assessing long term implications, or prioritising pressing issues.
Likewise, former finance minister Surendra Pandey said government inefficiency has propelled capital flight. The government has also failed to spend the ‘one-third’ development expenditure of the special budget. “There is no check and balance mechanism to monitor financial discipline. In the last fiscal year, the government transferred Rs 38.67 billion,” he added.
Caretaker Finance Minister Barshaman Pun had brought a special budget of Rs 161.24 billion through ordinance in July as interim public expenditure arrangement, largely focusing on elections for four months, till mid-November. But absence of consensus since the Constituent Assembly’s ‘death’ on May 27, has made it difficult for to bring a full-fledged budget. “The government has to create environment to form a consensus government to bring a full budget,” said Pandey, who said the bureaucracy needs to be more vigilant as the next government will not own any of the incumbent government’s populist programmes.
Former finance minister Prakash Chandra Lohani said Bhattarai is obsessed with populist paperwork and he has brought more populist programmes today giving continuity to his earlier programmes in the name of good governance and economic reforms.