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Nepal Government likely to observe ‘budget holiday’

KATHMANDU:- The government will not be able to spend from the state treasury from Wednesday in the absence of the endorsement of the Appropriation Bill, 2078 BS within the scheduled date.
Talking to media persons at the Federal Parliament Building, New Baneshwor following the today’s meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR), Finance Minister Janardan Sharma said that government expenditure could be stopped for a few days. This is probably the first time in Nepal that the government expenditures are likely to be suspended. In the economic term the condition is described as the ‘budget holiday’.
The erstwhile government led by the CPN (UML) had on May 29 brought the ordinance budget for the current fiscal year and it was presented in the federal parliament on July 19. As per the provision, ordinance has to be passed within 60 days. On the same basis, the Appropriation Bill should have been passed by Wednesday. The endorsement of the Bill has been uncertain as the UML which takes the charge of main opposition at present continues to obstruct the House since its commencement on September 8.
Today’s session of the House of Representatives could pass the proposal tabled by the Finance Minister seeking consideration over the Bill. Informing about the possibility of ‘budget holiday’, the Finance Minister said the budget would be passed through due parliamentary procedures.
The next meeting of the HoR has been scheduled for September 20. As the Minister assured, there would be no hurdles in the collection of revenue and it would go regularly.
In his response to a query whether the government was preparing to bring the ‘vote on account bill’, he said the government had not thought about that. “Though the government may not be able to spend for some days, the Appropriation Bill would be endorsed through a regular process.”
The government had brought a bill to replace the ordinance budget on September 10 amidst protest from the oppositions. Though Speaker Sapkota on Monday organised an-all party ( those in the HoR) meeting on Monday in a bid to patch up the issue, but the meeting inconclusively as the UML did not turn up in it.

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