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Govt to present federal budget today

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government is presenting the country’s first federal budget in the Parliament on Tuesday.

According to the Ministry source, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada will present the annual budget on joint session of parliament today which will transfer around Rs 400 billion to sub-national governments.

While the National Planning Commission (NPC) has set a ceiling of around Rs1.2 trillion, Finance Ministry sources said the budget will be as big as Rs1.45 trillion.

Provinces and local bodies will get around Rs 53.82 billion in revenue each from revenue-sharing fund, as 30 per cent of value added tax and domestic excise go to sub-national governments.

The federal budget of 2018-19 has set a target of revenue growth of 30 per cent for next fiscal compared to 19.8 per cent growth in this fiscal.

The government will mobilise around Rs 350 billion from foreign loan and grant, raise around Rs 160 billion in domestic debt based on forecast of seven per cent economic growth in next fiscal, according to Ministry officials.

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Sources said that Finance Minister Khatiwada has changed the tax rates in the budget and would encourage maximum value addition from the imports in Nepali economy.

Finance Minister Khatiwada is aslo set to introduce Madan Bhandari Highway as a new priority project of the federal government and will allocate needful resources to complete the priority projects announced through the government’s policies and programs.

Finance Minister Khatiwada,while presenting the principles and priorities of the budget, had said that small projects that fall under the jurisdiction of the sub-national governments will be transferred and the piecemeal programmes being run by the centre will be scrapped.

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

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As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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