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   May 31, 2019        367        The Himalayan Times

This time the budget speech for the next fiscal year has addressed most of the issues of industrial sector. It has shown a bright future for the development of industry. However, we have to wait and watch how the government will implement it. The success depends on whether or not all the government bodies are able to work together. On the other hand, the government could face difficulties in revenue collection, for which it has set an ambitious target. Earlier, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada had said that the government’s revenue collection was short of Rs 100 billion than the set target for the current fiscal year.

— Hari Bhakta Sharma, former president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries

The budget has addressed all the sectors to some extent. Increasing tax on import of goods that can be produced within the country has created a conducive environment for the private sectors. This budget has promoted the local industries, which is a positive step of the government. Meanwhile, the government has also decided to exempt customs on machinery required for industries. The announcement of rebate on import of garments, raw materials, transportation of agricultural products and other industrial goods could provide further relief to industrialists.

— Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce

The budget speech has promoted local industry. The government has also addressed almost all the concerns raised by the private sectors this year. The government has hiked customs rate on import of tea, coffee, milk, ghee, chicken, pea, potato chips, biscuits, ice-cream, chocolates, shoes, thread and sugar. This is a positive step in promoting local industries. The budget has also eased the land acquisition process for industries. Meanwhile custom rates on raw materials, machinery for industries have been reduced. This will promote exports. The best part of this budget is that it has prioritised infrastructure development, which is the base for development of country.

— Bhawani Rana, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Although the budget has brought good programmes for the energy sector, it has somehow failed to address our issues. While there were some notable announcements for the development of energy sector, the concerns of hydropower industrialists have largely been ignored. We had requested the government to provide us similar facilities being extended to foreign industrialists. Likewise, land acquisition is still bothersome, but has not been addressed.

— Shailendra Guragain, president of Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal

The budget speech of Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has shed a positive light on the tourism industry. However, no new programmes or policies have been brought for the industry. Hence, the industry did not get prioritised in budget this year as well. The best part of the budget is that it has prioritised the Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 campaign. Similarly, the government has allocated budget to introduce new destinations and to promote them. Meanwhile the announcement to operate Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) roundthe-clock is laudable. However, the government has failed to address the real issues plaguing the tourism industry. Meanwhile, the government has also announced to bring Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) into operation by the next year. But without air routes from Mahendranagar and Nepalgunj, it would be difficult to operate international flights from GBIA. The budget has brought tourism programmes at surface level. To sum up, this year too, somehow the government’s budget has failed to address the issues of tourism sector.

— Prachanda Man Shrestha, former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board

Definitely, this budget is large but my main concern here is its implementation aspect. Allocation of budget for the new airport in Pokhara and for tourism, besides the plan to open a customs office at Korala entry point of Mustang are positive developments.

— Bikal Tulachan, Western Region Hotel Association Pokhara

I would call it a conventional budget. I Brought by a technocrat finance minister, it is larger in size than the previous budgets, but there is little ground to believe that it will be implemented at all. For one, I don’t reckon that the revenue target will be met. As the finance minister himself has predicted 4.5 per cent inflation in the coming fiscal, it is sure to push up prices of daily commodities. All in all, the new budget is not based on reality and seems hard to implement. If it has made anyone happy, it’s the MPs, senior citizens and government employees.

— Anandaraj Mulmi, former chairperson of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry

All budgets are essentially the same. The main thing we need to see is whether or not it can be implemented. As for Gandaki Province, we can’t call the budget bad. Our only concern is that the budget doesn’t mention anything about making Pokhara the capital of tourism. The plan to hold a youth conference in Nepal is really commendable. All in all, the budget is in line with the manifesto of the ruling party.

— Sanjeev Bahadur Koirala, former chairperson of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The budget is mainly distributive. The government does not have the capacity to spend the budget and it has admitted that fact. The budget I believe will increase inflation. Overall there is nothing new in the budget. Moreover, the main aspect to look into is whether the government will be able to implement the programmmes it has introduced.

— Sher Bahadur Deuba, president, Nepali Congress

There is no justification of continuing with pork barrel schemes. Though we had started this practice it should be done away with now because we have already embraced the federal system of governance and the local level governments can play a part in developing their respective areas. I feel the budget is quite big in size. The recurrent expenditure has been increased by 20 per cent like in the past. In the last fiscal, the government had allocated Rs 270 billion as capital expenditure, which was raised to Rs 272 billion in the current fiscal. What is worrying is that even when the government has not been able spend that amount it has decided to increase the allocation for capital expenditure to Rs 410 billion. The government will not be able to meet its revenue collection target and moreover, foreign loans and grants have also come down significantly. In this situation, how can the government assume that it will be able to receive such loans and grants to the tune it expects.

— Minendra Rijal, shadow finance minister, Nepali Congress

The budget is like the ones that were introduced in the past. It is basically a populist policy. However, it has addressed the education and social security sector, which are positive aspects of the budget. The budget though has failed to address the agriculture sector and the rising unemployment. The budget has not introduced any thing new as such. It should have made institutional changes so as to attract domestic and foreign investment, which it has failed to do.

— Baburam Bhattarai, former prime minister and finance minister

This budget is like a manifesto of a Communist party. It has included practically everything. It will be quite difficult to implement budget. Overall, I feel the budget does not contain anything substantial that could lead the country toward prosperity. It also has failed to address issues related to Tarai-Madhes.

— Rajendra Mahato, lawmaker, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal

This major focus of the budget is on infrastructure development. However, I feel the budget has missed the spirit of federalism as it has included many programmes that could have been developed by the provincial and local governments. The centre should be dealing with only strategic projects but has included even small projects of the local level.

— Rajendra Shrestha, lawmaker, Samajbadi Party-Nepal

The manner in which the budget has tried to encourage domestic production is positive. However, the budget includes many things that are a continuation of the past. There are some issues that we need to further analyse. Every year, we have been facing problems in implementing the budget properly but we can do so if we are able to improve our administrative works.

— Bhim Rawal, lawmaker, Nepal Communist Party (NCP)

This budget is against the general people and farmers. To address the needs of the poor people the budget should have introduced more taxes on the rich. There should be free education in schools and also at the university level, but the government hasn’t include it. The budget has failed to talk substantially about job creation and instead will promote the youth to go abroad for foreign employment.

— Prem Suwal, lawmaker, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party

The positive aspect of the budget is that it has talked about facilitating the industrial sector. However, since we lie in between India and China — two giant industrial hubs — it will not be enough to compete with industries of our neighbouring nations. In the next fiscal we should focus on improving our capital expenditure which has historically always been low. The budget is a bit distributive in nature. Before we distribute we focus on production too. It would not be correct to distribute from import revenue and tax collection. The finance minister has assured of attracting investment and I hope he will be able to deliver that.

— Binod Chaudhary, lawmaker and businessman

Overall, I feel the budget is good. The finance minister has tried to address the challenges facing the industrial sector. The government has planned to improve the customs offices which I think is good. The budget has also allocated more funds for roads, which again is a very positive aspect because if roads are better then it will boost economic activities. Other good aspects of the budget is that it has reduced the tax on machinery and also provided 50 per cent waiver on electricity fees. This will go a long way in improving the industrial sector. However, the growth target of 8.5 per cent will be difficult to achieve.

— Shekhar Golchha, businessman

The Himalayan Times