- Suggestions from former Vice-Chairpersons of National Planning Commission and experts
POKHARA: Gandaki Province government, which is engaged in the policies and programmes, and budget for the coming fiscal year 2022/23, held discussions with experts including former vice-chairpersons of the National Planning Commission (NPC).
Gandaki Province’s Ministry of Finance held discussions on budget and its implementation, on Wednesday and Thursday.
The two-day discussions were held in the presence of Gandaki Province Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel, former vice-chairpersons of the NPC — Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel, Dipendra Bahadur Chhetri, Min Bahadur Shrestha, Dinesh Chandra Devkota — among others.
All the participants in the discussion suggested bringing a long-term plan to strengthen federalism. The experts suggested that the upcoming budget should focus on productive, job-creating and import-substituting sides.
It was highlighted that the provincial government completed its four and a half years despite challenges in lack of staff management, reluctance of the employees to assimilate federalism, reluctance of the federal government to transfer power, and limited sources of income for the province. Participants said the biggest project for the provincial government is to implement federalism and suggested the three-tier government should prioritise it.
Chief Minister Pokhrel expressed the government’s commitment to formulating the budget as suggested by the experts and said that research will be prioritised in the upcoming budget. He said it is important for the province to work in a way that the people could feel, even though the federal government seemed to be indifferent to the transfer of power.
Gandaki Province Minister for Finance Ramji Prasad Baral (Jeevan) said that the government has received a lot of feedback from the two-day discussion and expressed his commitment to work for its implementation.
During the discussion, former vice-chairman of NPC, Pokhrel, said unless the budget is implemented effectively, it is not possible to raise the economic status. He urged to consider the population data while formulating budget. Pokharel said it is not only the task of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) to implement federalism, the province and local level should also raise their voices.
Former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Ananda Raj Mulmi, said it was time to analyse the feasibility of the current plan. He suggested opening at least one fair price shop in each rural municipality and municipality to end the monopoly in the market. He said that the provincial government should focus on making the capital Pokhara more beautiful and well-organised city. He also suggested increasing the source of income of the province by marketing local products in all 85 municipalities. He suggested identifying the products that can be exported from Gandaki.
He also suggested the provincial government raise its voice for the operation of Uttar Ganga Hydro project.
In the discussion, National Assembly member Khim Lal Devkota suggested that small scale projects should be brought to the local level and multi-year plans should be reduced. He said emphasis should be laid on industrial production. He said as the majority of the budget goes to the Ministry of Physical infrastructures, Urban Development and Transport Management, such provision should be revised.
Former Dean of Pokhara University Prof Dr Indra Prasad Tiwari; former member of NPC, Laxmi Devkota; former member of Provincial Policy and Planning Commission, Bhima Dhungana; former Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi; former Secretary Baburam Acharya; Chancellor of Gandaki University Prof Dr Ganeshman Gurung; former Vice-Chancellor of Pokhara University, Keshar Jung Baral; Member of NPC, Pushpa Raman Wagle; former secretary Bishwa Prakash Pandit and Krishna Prasad Poudel suggested for the budget formulation and implementation.
In the discussion, secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Baikuntha Prasad Aryal, briefed about the current situation of the expenditure.
Gandaki Province government has already discussed budget with ministers and secretaries, heads and representatives of various political parties in the province.
Meanwhile, the Province Provincial Policy and Planning Commission is working on the budget based on the ceiling received from the federal government.