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KATHMANDU: The National Planning Commission (NPC) is contemplating an earlier completion of preparatory work for the annual budget, aiming to enhance the effectiveness of budget implementation.
To achieve this objective, the NPC has revised the budget calendar, awaiting final approval from the cabinet. A committee, headed by NPC member Ram Kumar Phuyal, is poised to submit the revised calendar to the Council of Ministers via the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Currently, the finance minister presents the annual budget before a joint session of parliament on Jestha 15 (May 28/29). In response to complaints about inadequate time for budget discussions in parliament, the NPC-led committee seeks a review of the current budget preparation schedule.
In the proposed schedule, the National Resource Management Committee of the NPC will set the budget ceiling for the next fiscal year by mid-February. The government will establish the budget’s priorities and principles by the end of February, with discussions to conclude by mid-April.
Under the proposed provision, the president will present the Government’s Policies and Programs within the third week of April, and discussions on them will conclude in the first week of May.
Additionally, the MoF is expected to release the Economic Survey one week before the budget announcement date, departing from the current practice of unveiling it on the day before the budget announcement.
Simultaneously, the NPC has directed government ministries and offices to submit their plans for the fiscal year 2024/25 budget. Emphasizing adherence to the National Project Bank and government-defined standards, the NPC urged prioritization of projects meeting these criteria.
NPC Vice-chairman Min Bahadur Shrestha, speaking at a program, asserted that proposed projects failing to meet prescribed standards will not find a place in the upcoming year’s budget. This commitment comes as both the NPC and the MoF grapple with political pressures to include numerous programs in the annual budget.
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