KATHMANDU: The caretaker government today brought a 'special budget' of Rs 161.24 billion through ordinance — due to absence of the Parliament — as an interim public expenditure arrangement largely focusing on election, and not economic expansion.
"It includes election expenses, second instalment for UCPN-Maoist combatants’ voluntary retirement and expenses for the proposed directorate at the army headquarters to manage the integration and end peace process logically," said caretaker finance minister Barshaman Pun here today.
"The private sector should not be discouraged as the government is committed to creating investment friendly environment," he said, adding that the government is observing fiscal year 2012-13 as Investment Year. "The government will focus on reducing cost of business and bureaucratic hassles with tax-payer friendly environment to encourage private sector," Pun promised.
However, the private sector is not satisfied with the one-third budget — a public expenditure arrangement only — as it could not help expand economy and encourage investment. "Had the government been able to bring full-fledged budget with political consensus, it could have encouraged private sector that would create employment," stated FNCCI.
Though the government has failed to curb spiralling price hike and deliver basic services, the budget promises to provide effective service to the people with efforts to strengthen the regulator to monitor prices in the market to crack whip on inflation.
According to former finance minister and Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, with his long wish-list, including double digit growth rate, Pun has tried to be popular . "The finance minister has used the 'budget' as a cheap propaganda tool," he told THT. "The government, forgetting its caretaker status, blamed the opposition for not being able to forge political consensus that forced him to bring interim public expenditure arrangement," Mahat said, adding, "He should have accepted the status of caretaker government and played accordingly."
The budget size — despite it being one-third of the fiscal year's estimated expenses of Rs 384.90 billion — has increased due to regular expenses for the projects of 'national pride' such as Upper Tamakoshi, new ministries and debt servicing.