Nepal's political parties on Tuesday hammered out a crucial deal to approve the delayed budget on November 19, amid a constitutional deadlock over the formation of new government that has sparked fears of a financial crisis in the country.
The main Opposition United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) and the two largest parties in the caretaker coalition, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-UML (CPN-UML), agreed to endorse the annual budget for the current fiscal year after a marathon meeting in the capital.
The UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have agreed to announce the budget on November 19 despite the ongoing political stalemate over election of a new Prime Minister, Jhala Nath Khanal, the chairperson of the CPN-UML told PTI.
The government plans to bring a Rs 220 billion budget for the current fiscal.
Three former finance ministers — Baburam Bhattarai of the UCPN-Maoist, Ram Sharan Mahat of Nepali Congress and Bharat Mohan Adhikari of the CPN-UML have been entrusted with the responsibility of settling all issues related to the budget.
In effect, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey is set to present the budget on November 19 in Parliament.
The country has been in a political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. It has stalled the country's peace process and delayed the budget, bringing the nation on the brink of financial crisis.
The government is facing serious fund crunch as it failed to approve the budget due to the failure to elect a new prime minister even after sixteen rounds of election in Parliament.
The caretaker government aims to push the annual budget amid warnings that it is running out of money, finance ministry officials have said. They have warned that the country would face a severe crisis if the budget is not passed this week.
According to the ministry, the budget currently available in state coffers is not sufficient even for the essential services for the month of November.
The Parliament approved an interim budget to allow the caretaker government to run day-to-day activities for four months and pay civil servants, but that expires this week.
Nepal's 17th run-off poll for a new prime minister was put off yesterday when no clear winner was expected to emerge.
65-year-old Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal, the sole candidate who is adamant over not quitting the prime ministerial race, has failed to garner a majority in Parliament despite series of run-off polls.