KATHMANDU, Oct 19
The European Union (EU) has tripled development support for Nepal to €360 million (around Rs 44.80 billion) to be spent in the coming six years focusing on sectors such as education, sustainable rural development and strengthening democracy. The support will also be spent on rural infrastructure development, job creation, improvement of educational standard, decentralization, democratic good governance and management.
The EU has attributed the increment in support amount, meant for expansion of socio-economic development activities, to political stability. Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma and EU Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink signed the assistance agreement on Sunday in presence of Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and visiting European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs. The government and the EU had held many rounds of dialogue for the assistance amount to be spent by 2020.
Minister Mahat, after the signing ceremony, said that the EU’s step to assist Nepal government in rural development is important and praiseworthy. Stating that this assistance will also support the government in achieving the target of becoming a developing country, he added that tripling of assistance amount shows goodwill of the EU toward Nepal. Mahat claimed that the government had been working aggressively for high economic growth. “Nepal should also make significant progress in the field of economic development now after facing almost two decades of violent conflict and political transition,” he stated. He also expressed hope for assistance in development of energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors from the European Investment Bank in the coming days.
European Commissioner for Development Piebalgs claimed that the EU’s assistance will help Nepal in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The EU has been assisting Nepal in education, health, peace, stability, environment conservation, food security, natural disaster management and other sectors for over three decades. The EU and European countries remain the biggest donor group for Nepal.
Acts related to budget passed
The legislative parliament meanwhile has passed two bills related to appropriation bills on Sunday. The Bill on Raising National Debts and the 20th Amendment Bill for Credit and Collateral were passed by majority. The government earlier on October 14 had passed the Appropriation Bill and then the Financial Bill.
Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat had presented a budget of Rs 618.10 billion for the fiscal year 2071/72 on July 14. He had allocated Rs 398.95 billion for recurrent expenditure, Rs 116.75 billion for capital expenditure and Rs 102.39 billion for financial management. The appropriation bills include expenditure programs of the government for the whole fiscal year. The government had planned to manage resources for the fiscal year through revenues of Rs 422.90 billion, foreign aid of Rs 73.38 billion, foreign debts (Rs 49.52 billion), domestic borrowing (Rs 52.75 billion) and cash reserve from the current fiscal year (Rs 18.53 billion). The steps to be taken for arranging the resources are mentioned in the Financial Bill, the Bill on Raising National Debts, and the Credit and Collateral Bill.
The Financial Bill includes determination and increase/decrease in rates of revenue, tax, fees and discount. The amendment bill also includes proposal for amendment of different acts apart from the rates for customs duty, agriculture reform fee, educational service tax, film development tax, vehicle tax, and other taxes and fees. Similarly, the Bill on Raising National Debts mentions the condition in which to take foreign and domestic debts while the Credit and Collateral Bill includes provisions for collateral kept for receiving loans.
Source : Karobar Daily