Kathmandu: Nepalese government on Saturday unveiled a record-breaking annual budget of nearly $10 billion for the next fiscal 2016-17 year.
Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel presented the budget of 1,048 billion Nepalese rupees (about $10 billion) for the next fiscal year with emphasis on post-earthquake reconstruction, infrastructure, and social security and enhancing connectivity with both China and India, Xinhua news agency reported.
The size of the budget has been increased 28 percent compared to last year’s $7.6 billion.
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As agitating Madhesi political parties did not participate during budget presentation at the parliament, it is expected to pose challenge to implementation of budget as political instability has remained as one of the factors for poor budget implementation in the recent years.
However, the budget has introduced many programs that are focused on southern Tarai where agitating parties are based. The budget has been allocated for border area development program focused on 20 districts of southern Tarai and Postal. Roads connecting many districts of Tarai have been allocated significant budget.
With expectation that the post-earthquake reconstruction works would speed up in the next fiscal year, the budget for the reconstruction has been increased by 53 percent to 140 billion rupees.
As Nepal aims to become bridge between India and China, the budget has given high emphasis to develop roads connecting India and China border.
As the country went through difficult period when prolonged blockade was imposed in southern border points recently, creating shortage of fuel and other essentials, the new budget announced constructing storage tanks to sustain the fuel demands for at least 90 days. Currently, Nepal’s fuel storage capacity is just for 17 days.