| June 25, 2017
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Even leaders of ruling coalition criticize budget

KATHMANDU, June 3: Not only the opposition leaders, leaders of ruling coalition have also started criticizing allocations and priorities of the budget for Fiscal Year 2016/17.

Putting his views on the budget in the parliament on Thursday, CPN (Maoist Center) Leader Janardan Sharma criticized the budget for being capital-centric and serving vested interest of political leaders. He also charged the government for focusing only on Jhapa and Rupandehi - the home districts of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel -- and neglecting other backward areas.
The government has showed its feudal nature, added Sharma.

"There is no regional balance in budget distribution. Marginalized areas like Seti, Mahakali and Karnali zones have been neglected," added Sharma. "D" people of Karnali have to migrate to Jhapa and Rupandehi to reap the benefits of socialism," he said in a sarcastic tone.

He also said the budget has neglected Karnali Highway and the Karnali Commission which has been formed for development of Karnali zone.

Sunil Bahadur Thapa, a lawmaker of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, also slammed the government for setting recurrent expenditure higher than revenue collection targets.

The government has set aside an additional Rs 183 billion on top of Rs 434 billion allocated for recurrent expenditure in 201/15 to pay salary and for other regular expenditure. It has set a target of mobilizing total revenue of Rs 565 billion. This means it will have to borrow even to pay salary of government employees.

Comparing the budge to the economic situation of Venezuela which has seen its currency devalued by 99 percent, Thapa said: "Though the budget has covered social welfare and resource redistribution well, programs to boost agricultural production," added Thapa.

Airing his view on budget, Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa charged Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel of being spendthrift while allocating resources despite having limited resources at his disposal.

"T"e budget is populist rather than result-oriented," "hapa said, urging the government to insert a time-bound expenditure plan for development works in the Financial Bill.

Unlike other lawmakers, Thapa criticized the plan to allocate Rs 5 million for each parliamentarian and Rs 30 million for Constituency Development Program in each constituency. "W" all have now become an entity having budget of Rs 35 million," "e added.

Likewise, another Nepali Congress lawmaker Prakash Sharan Mahat said that our economy cannot be self-reliant as envisioned in the budget if we have to borrow even to pay salary. "T"e tendency of increasing budget size as well as expenditure will take the economy to the brink of collapse," "dded Mahat. He also said that the plan to levy infrastructure tax on fossil fuel to finance Budhigandaki Hydropower Project is deceiving, as budget document says that the tax will be levied without putting burden on consumers.

CPN-UML lawmaker Gokarna Bista said that revenue target has been raised by 22 percent to Rs 565 billion which is gettable. "The decision to raise salary of government employees will increase accountability of civil servants. This will help to boost capital expenditure," "e added.