‘Record revenues our major feat’
KATHMANDU, May 20 - Finance Minister Baburam Bha ttarai said on Tuesday the current political instability should not hit the country's economic stability.
In what is probably his last press meet at the ministry, Bhattarai said his party would be flexible in addressing the problems of recurrent strikes, banda and labour unrest even when sitting in the opposition benches.
With the political situation in turmoil following the resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Finance Minister said the economy should be protected from chaos. He said the Nepali Congress had opposed the government's proposal to ban strikes and banda for a certain period despite government efforts in this regard.
When asked how satisfied he was with his performance as finance minister, he said he was 50 percent satisfied by the progress the government had made.
He added that the “historic” performance on the revenue collection front -- with the proceeds as of mid-May reaching 40 percent higher than for the same period last year -- was the main achievement of his ministry.
However, he expressed disappointment over the level of development expenditure which stands at Rs. 26 billion against the total development budget of Rs. 91 billion. “The delay in presenting the budget, delayed the tender process, absence of local government and political squabbles are mainly responsible for the low development budget spending,” he said.
Bhattarai said the government estimated the country' economic growth to hover around 5 percent this year against the estimated 7 percent.
“Increased load-shedding, Koshi flood, low spending of development budget and instability in the industrial sector are responsible for the economic growth rate falling short of the goal,” he said.
He mentioned the successful implementation of the voluntary disclosure of income scheme (VDIS), launching of 59 projects under the New Nepal Campaign, writing off the loans of small bo-rrowers and injection of foreign aid as major successes of the ministry.
He wasn't very complimentary about the stock market, however. “The stock market does not represent the health of the economy as a whole,” he said when told that the bourse had picked up following change in the political equation.
Posted on: 2009-05-19 22:06:44 (Server Time)