Next budget to focus on reconstruction
The government is adding new dimension in the next fiscal year’s budget apart from concentrating more on reconstruction.
The next fiscal year’s budget will focus on reconstruction as the earthquake on April 25 damaged lost of infrastructure including roads, buildings and cultural historical sites, said vice chair of the National Planning Commission Dr Govind Pokharel.
The budget will also make permanent arrangement under some ministries to add budget for rescue, relief, rehabilitate and recostruction, he said, adding, “What we have learnt from Saturday’s devastating earthquake is that the government should add regularly some new dimesion in the budget like rescue, relief, rehabilitate and reconstruction as precaution in the future.”
Initial estimates peg the economic damage from the devastating earthquake could be around $10 billion. The new dimension and the urgent need of reconstruction could send the budget ceiling overboard. The planning commission has given Rs 735 billion ceiling for the budget for next fiscal year. “It is but natural as we have to focus on reconstruction,” said Budget Division chief Baikuntha Aryal.
On Saturday, a 7.8-magnitude powerful earthquake devastated a swathe of Nepal, in mere seconds. “What took moments to flatten will take years to rebuild,” he said, adding that the reconstruction will take years. “We will erase the unnecessary programmes, and add budget for the reconstruction.”
The initial cost of reconstruction could exceed $5 billion or about 20 per cent of the country’s economy.
The government is ill-equipped to handle relief efforts and reconstruction. “The budget for rebuilding could push the budget ceiling up but that is not unmanageable as the development partners have committed huge amount for the reconstruction,” Aryal added.
However, the government capacity to spending needs to be increased and it also has to cut the red tape to expedite development expenditure.
Nepal ranks as the world’s 126th most-corrupt country out of 174 in a report by Transparency International. Likewise, the United Nations ranks Nepal 145th out of 187 countries in its Human Development Index, with annual per capita income of just $712.