KATHMANDU, June 13 - Despite the delay in the appointment of ministers to give the government its full form, the task of preparing the budget for the next fiscal year has been gaining momentum. An expert team formed by the Finance Ministry has begun its work.
After the appointment of Surendra Pandey as finance minister, the ministry had formed a six-member expert team. Initially, the group had been unsure about starting work as Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had said that Pandey's being named finance minister was a stop-gap arrangement.
The expert team has started reviewing the budget proposals submitted by the ministries. Keshav Acharya, a member of the expert team, said, "We've so far reviewed the proposals of six ministries." The ministries whose proposals have been reviewed are Physical Planning and Works, Water Resources, Health, Local Develo-pment, Agriculture and Forestry. Acharya said, "We're looking at aspects like areas where expenses can be reduced, whether the programmes are feasible or not and the amounts demanded."
The previous government had said that
it would present the budget for the next
fiscal year 2009/10 at an early date. Former Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai and his team were at the last stages of the budget preparation.
"He had planned to present the budget in the first week of June," said one senior official of the ministry. However, a change in government had pushed the deadline to the second week of July. If things go according to the plan, the new budget will likely be released in the second week of July.
The size of the new budget is yet to be decided. According to Finance Ministry sources, the previous government had finalised the size
of the budget at around Rs. 2.70 trillion. Likewise, they were looking to fix the
revenue target at between Rs. 1.65 to 1.70 trillion.