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Budget 2024/25: Profound transformation of economic sector is not possible, says Laxman Kandel

The government has unveiled a budget of nearly Rs 1860 billion for the next fiscal year. Like previous fiscal years, the budget looks ambitious. 

The economy has been witnessing continued slowdown over the past few years. Almost all sectors have lost their confidence. 

The market has not been vibrant as customers are not ready to invest. On the other hand, the budget has stated that about Rs 12 billion would be mobilized from the revenue. In this sense, the revenue mobilization target seems unrealistic and it will not be easier for the government to meet the target as the overall economic sector has seen slowdown. Afterall, revenue can be collected only when the economic activities take a momentum. 

There are some more questions: Is it possible to achieve the targeted growth with the budget that is allocated for development? Can that budget be implemented properly? 

While talking about Karnali, the budget has a provision to upgrade the airport in Birendranagar Surkhet, the capital of the province. Did he mean expansion? I think the announcement is a bit ambiguous: expansion or upgrade? We had demanded the expansion, but the budget has included the plan for upgradation.

The budget also mentioned transforming Bheriganga Municipality of Surkhet into a modern city, which is commendable. Provision of Karnali and Bheri Corridor have been included. These are good initiatives for the development of the province. The budget has also recognized some of the natural resources of Karnali province such as Marsi rice of Jumla, Karnali is a hub of herbs etc. 

Overall, it’s a bit ambitious. It is said that 1.6 million youth will be given 200 hours of work under the Prime Minister’s Self-Employment Program, while five million families will be provided with land certification. Looking at these aspects, the budget looks good. But, in terms of implementation, it is impossible to say if it will not be the same as in the past.

After this budget, the private sector expects that if the government can make the market run smoothly and if the monetary policy comes to address the current financial policy in the right way, then this budget can proceed ahead with the works.

Laxman Kandel is the President of the Surkhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry.