Budget ordinance deceitful, betrayal of country: Oppn parties
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Amid strong objection from opposition parties, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday evening endorsed the budget ordinance forwarded by the government.
The president authenticated the Ordinance to Authorize the Use of Cash from the Consolidated Fund and Appropriate it for Works and Services 2069 BS as per the Article 88 (1) of the Interim Constitution, 2007, according to a press statement issued by the President’s Office.
The statement said the president authenticated the ordinance citing that the government is not in a position to present the budget in the legislature parliament as stated in Article 96 (1) of the interim constitution.
Addressing a press briefing organized at finance ministry late Tuesday evening, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun said the budget cannot be termed a full-fledged budget as it does not contain any new programs. “It is only the continuation of past programs,” he said.
Pun also said the government is very eager to bring full-fledged budget after forging consensus on all issues. “The budget authenticated by the president only helps to meet the immediate needs of the day to day functioning of the government,” he added.
The government had forwarded the budget ordinance to President Yadav despite strong objection from the opposition parties. Various opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML had asked the president not to endorse the budget ordinance brought without consensus between the parties.
Talking to Republica after the president approved the budget ordinance, NC leader and former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the president should have endorsed the budget ordinance brought only after consensus between the parties. “But again, the president has his own obligations. He cannot afford to see day to day to functioning of the government being affected,” he said.
Along with the decision to submit budget ordinance to the president, a cabinet meeting held earlier in the day had also decided to hold the fresh election to the Constituent Assembly (CA) by mid-May. “The exact date for election will be announced in consensus with other political parties at the earliest,” said Minister for Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav.
He said the government had to announce fresh date for polls as it could not hold election on the earlier announced date of November 22 due to “special circumstances”. The opposition parties have termed the “unilateral decisions” of the government “deceitful” and a “betrayal” against the country and its people.
“The government has taken one step after another aimed at shutting the door for consensus,” said NC President Sushil Koirala while addressing an interaction in the capital on Tuesday. “This is regrettable.”
Likewise, UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal said the prime minister had betrayed the government as he had promised to move ahead through consensus and by paving the way for the formation of a consensus government. He claimed discussions were underway among the parties to forge broader political consensus within the next three days.
“It is deceitful of the government to unilaterally bring a new budget at a time when efforts for consensus among parties were still underway. This is a betrayal against democracy and the opposition parties,” Khanal added.
Issuing a separate joint statement, the opposition parties said the decisions taken by the government that has already lost its legitimacy had pushed the country further toward constitutional crisis. “The government’s decision to forward the budget in an arbitrary manner to the president has drawn our attention as the move is against political, legal and people’s opinions,” the statement read.
The parties in the statement also concluded that the unilateral decisions of the government were aimed at discouraging efforts made toward forging consensus. “While expressing our serious objection, we regret the government decisions aimed at discouraging efforts taking place among political parties to find a solution,” the statement further said.
In a separate statement, Rastriya Janamorcha Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC has also denounced the government’s unilateral move to bring budget, arguing that the move has substantiated the fact that the government wants to rule the country in a totalitarian manner. “This government does not have any constitutional rights to bring the budget and forward it to the president,” KC said.