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Former finance ministers suggest prioritising agro, job creation and rebuilding

Former finance ministers and lawmakers today suggested the incumbent finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat to give more priority to agriculture sector, creating jobs for the youths and rebuilding of damaged infrastructures – caused by the devastating earthquake of April 25 – in the next fiscal year’s budget.
Speaking during the pre-budget session at the Legislature-Parlaiment today they said that the next fiscal year’s budget holds special significance because it is not only the first budget after the devastating earthquake of April 25 – that has made some four million Nepalis homeless apart from flooring down thousands of public building including world heritage sites – but also the country is moving towards constitution drafting process paving the way for national consensus government that is expected to bring political stability.
The lawmakers asked the government to prepare the budget with a long term vision.
During the pre-budget discussion, former prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai asked Finance Ministry to give priority to agriculture sector. Asking the government to allocate at least 10 per cent of the budget for agriculture sector Bhattarai said that agriculture would boost the economy. He also suggested to focus on reconstruction of damaged physical infrastructures. “The budget for the next fiscal year is going to be very crucial.”
Saying that the objective of the new budget should be to increase per capita income, create more jobs and end social injustice and inequality, Bhattarai said energy and infrastructures development should also be priority areas. Bhattarai, also the former finance minister, suggested the government to distribute identity cards to poor and those injured in various political movements.
Likewise, another former finance minister and CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari asked the government to invest more in agriculture and provide subsidies to the farmers. He also suggested to provide soft loan to farmers. “If we invest more in agriculture, it would help boost overall economy,” he said, asking to prioritise power development. “Social security and special programmes for poor and margnalised communities should also be prioritised,” he added.
However, Nepali Congress (NC) vice president Ram Chandra Poudel urged finance minister Mahat to bring welfare budget.