House Endorses Budget Of Fiscal Year 2024/25

House Endorses Budget Of Fiscal Year 2024/25

June 26, 2024, 8:14 a.m.

The House of Representatives has endorsed the budget for the fiscal year 2024/25. The Appropriation Bill 2024, presented by Finance Minister Barsaman Pun, was approved with a majority vote on Tuesday.

Earlier during the session, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' emphasised the government's commitment to addressing the needs of Nepalis abroad, highlighting the priority placed on rescuing and facilitating the return of Nepali citizens facing difficulties overseas.

"Rescuing Nepalis in distress abroad and ensuring their safe return is a top priority for us," said Prime Minister Prachanda. He underscored the efforts made by Nepali missions to provide essential services round-the-clock, including legal assistance and repatriation support.

"In addition to enhancing communication through hotlines and online platforms, shelter homes have been established in some missions, such as Saudi Arabia, to assist Nepali workers," said PM Prachanda. He also noted advancements in passport services, aiming for greater efficiency and accessibility, especially in countries without physical embassies, where mobile services for passport applications are being introduced.

Regarding diplomatic missions, Prime Minister Prachanda affirmed the government's commitment to leveraging these entities in the national interest. "Our diplomatic missions abroad are pivotal in advancing Nepal's interests globally," he said, stressing the importance of professionalism and meritocracy in ambassadorial appointments. He assured the House that evaluations would be objective and performance-based to strengthen Nepal's diplomatic efforts effectively.

Addressing bilateral relations, particularly with India, Prime Minister Prachanda highlighted ongoing efforts to understand and implement recommendations from the Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report. He highlighted the importance of consensus-building in furthering Nepal-India treaties and relations for mutual benefit.

On domestic matters, the Prime Minister asserted Nepal's sovereignty over its rivers, stating, "Nepal's rivers are Nepal's property, and we will utilise them for Nepal's benefit." He outlined the government's economic strategy, emphasising balanced regional development to address disparities across provinces like Karnali, Madhes, and Sudurpaschim through targeted budget allocations for transformative projects.

Responding to questions on governance and budget allocations, Prime Minister Prachanda assured transparency and efficiency in government operations. He detailed reductions in current expenditures compared to previous years, emphasizing streamlined administrative costs and enhanced policy formulation under the federal structure.

"Institutional reforms are underway to ensure a people-oriented, accountable government," the Prime Minister affirmed, noting the restructuring efforts within the Prime Minister's Office and the Council of Ministers. He highlighted the role of the National Planning Commission in policy coherence and integrated planning across sectors.

Regarding national security and intelligence, Prime Minister Prachanda proposed placing the Money Laundering Investigation Department under the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. "This move aims to strengthen security management and improve coordination both domestically and internationally," he said, citing international practices as a reference for such organisational reforms.

Prime Minister Prachanda underscored Nepal's approach to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), emphasising a preference for subsidies over loans. "We will prioritise subsidies and ensure any loans adhering to favourable interest rates provided by the ADB and World Bank," said Prime Minister Prachanda.

"There's ongoing work to finalise plans for the BRI. I anticipate reaching an agreement soon to move this initiative forward," said PM Prachanda.

Prime Minister Prachanda assured that Nepal would pursue the BRI implementation agreement without burdening itself with excessive debt, highlighting a strategy that includes grants. "We will proceed with BRI to avoid accumulating debt burdens," he said.

Prime Minister Prachanda expressed optimism about Nepal's economic prospects in the coming fiscal year, emphasising the government's commitment to inclusive growth and sustainable development. He reiterated the importance of parliamentary oversight and public accountability in achieving these goals.

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