Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'/ File Photo
In a high-profile meeting at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, widely known as ‘Prachanda,’ outlined a groundbreaking approach for the upcoming fiscal year budget, emphasizing the completion of unfinished projects as a top priority. Prime Minister Dahal expressed dissatisfaction with the conventional policy, programme, and budgeting practices, asserting that they have failed to adequately address critical issues.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Dahal directed subordinate authorities to make necessary preparations to expedite the completion of incomplete projects. He drew attention to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning Commission, urging them to address the prevalent trend of abandoning old plans while introducing new ones, resulting in weak performance and the squandering of significant resources.
“Development should be planned. There is a practice of demanding development without feasibility study and utility. It is unfortunate that there prevails a lack of ownership, deficit of resources, and freezing of appropriated budget. We should rise above the situation. All efforts should be put to complete unaccomplished projects,” emphasized Prime Minister Dahal.
Despite positive economic indicators, Prime Minister Dahal acknowledged that challenges persist, citing anomalies in development works. He called for a departure from conventional mindsets and working styles, urging a selection of plans that contribute to the nation’s prosperity. “There should be a ‘breakthrough’ this time,” he asserted.
Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat highlighted the need for austerity measures in light of shrinking revenue collection, emphasizing the importance of financial prudence. Chief Secretary Dr. Baikuntha Aryal highlighted the upcoming amendment to the policy, programme, and budget-making process, presenting an opportunity for thorough study and discussion.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Dahal issued 16 directives, emphasizing the finalization of the budget ceiling by estimating resources for the next financial year and the following three years. He stressed the importance of intensive discussions with all ministries by February 3 and a joint discussion with all ministries before February 7 to establish national priorities and resources.
Prime Minister Dahal underscored the need to ensure budget allocation for projects of national pride, following the approved procurement master plan. He called for prioritizing projects with multi-year resource assurance and allocating funds to projects that have been entered into the project bank and yield returns.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Dahal urged the Ministry of Finance to halt the practice of sending conditional grants for projects implemented by provinces and local levels in the middle of the financial year. He emphasized the importance of presenting budget principles and priorities in Parliament and incorporating ministry budgets into the schedule.
Additionally, Prime Minister Dahal called for the preparation of a budget by the National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance, incorporating parliamentary concerns and suggestions from the public. He highlighted the necessity of building a revenue system to boost production and productivity, expand revenue scope, maintain low customs duties on raw materials, and revise the tax structure.
Prime Minister Dahal stressed the importance of prioritizing agriculture through a production-based subsidy system and coordinating programs across related ministries. He encouraged private sector involvement and granted ministries full access to the budget system, urging them to finalize programs and projects. Notably, he emphasized that once a procedure or guideline is established for a program or project, it should not be recreated annually.