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Govt presents annual budget of Rs 1.05 trillion

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KATHMANDU — Finance Minister BIshnu Paudel on Saturday presented the annual budget of Rs 1.048 trillion for the fiscal year 2016/17.

Presenting the budget, Minister Poudel said government had implementation of the constitution, acceleration of development works and reduction of poverty through this budget.

Earlier, the budget was endorsed by a Cabinet meet and Poudel said the budget was prepared after consultation with former finance ministers and various stakeholders.

Government has allocated Rs 140 billion for post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation works.

Earthquake-affected families will also receive additional Rs 300k each.

Likewise, the government will also provide martyrs status to those who lost their lives during the Madhes movement and also provide compensation to their families.

The government has increased the salary of civil servants by 25 percent while social security allowance and allowances provided to disabled, single woman and endangered communities have also been doubled.

The government has adopted the policy to produce electricity by levying five percent tax on petroleum products.

Rs 4.2 billion allocated for Postal Highway, Rs 5.33 billion for Budhi Gandaki Hydel project,  Rs 10 billion for fast track project, Rs 2.88 billion for mid-Hill highway and Rs 1.86 billion for Kathmandu-Nagdhunga tunnel.

Similarly, Rs 90 million will also be provided to each district headquarters and 10 cities will be developed as smart cities, the budget announced.

The grant for ‘Build your own village’ programme has been doubled to Rs 15.55 billion while the grant for municipalities has also been doubled.

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Economy

NPC urges government to seek clarification from Chinese firm

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KATHMANDU — The National Planning Commission (NPC) has urged the government to seek clarification from China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGC) over the construction of the Paschim (West) Seti Hydro Power Project.

The meeting of the NPC that began on Sunday, made the decision of seeking clarification from the company with a time period of 90 days regarding the construction of 750 MW hydropower project.

The hydropower project, which is expected to be completed in an investment of 1.60 billion rupees, will have 65 percent investments from the CTGC, 25 percent from the National Electricity Authority (NEA) and the 10 percent investments from the locals as share, as per the plans made before.

CTGC can sell off its 14 percent of its total 65 percent share to the Nepali investors. But the CTGC has been showing dissatisfaction over the rate of purchasing the electricity per unit (PPA). Previously it had asked the NEA to review the rate but got a negative response.

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“We have suggested the government to interrogate the company whether it will be able to complete the project or not. What has been the problem to expedite the construction along with the terms and conditions which the company wants to put forward,” NPC Vice President Swarnim Wagle said.

The CGTC, which has been delaying the construction over its dissatisfaction over the PPA, has been threatening to walk out of the construction.

The project, which covers the area of Doti, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, and Bajhang districts of Far Western Development Region of Nepal, can produce 3.33 billion units of electricity on yearly basis, accoridng to the probability study of the project.

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