Nepali lawmakers attend the session of announcement of Nepal Government's budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020 at federal parliament in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Sunil Sharma)
KATHMANDU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The Nepali government targets to achieve economic growth of 8.5 percent in the next fiscal year 2019-20 starting in mid-July as it has presented the annual budget of 1.53 trillion Nepali Rupees (13.71 billion U.S. dollars).
Nepali Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada presented the budget on Wednesday at the joint session of House of Representatives and the National Assembly, with outlay of nearly one third of budget for provincial and local governments.
They will get 464.56 billion Nepali Rupees (4.14 billion U.S. dollars), which will be an important source when provincial and local governments present their budget in the next 15 days.
The budget has focused on agriculture modernization, infrastructure and energy sector development as the Himalayan country aims at high growth trajectory for the next 25 years. It aims to create 500,000 new jobs from both government and the private sector through increased economic activities and targeted programs.
The Nepali government which has estimated the growth of 7 percent in the current fiscal year, has targeted an average growth of 9.6 percent over the next five years as per recently prepared Approach Paper of 15th periodic plan (2019/20-2023/24).
The Himalayan country targets the growth over 10 percent over the next two and half decades as per 25-year Long Term Vision Paper prepared by the government recently.
As the Nepali government has aimed to transform the country into a middle income country by 2030, sustained high growth rate of at least 7-8 percent is essential, the World Bank said in a report last year.
According to budget, Nepali government aims to generate additional 1,000 MW of electricity in the next fiscal year which will create energy surplus in the country. Currently, the country produces 1,142 MW of electricity.
According the budge, transport infrastructure-railways, waterways, roads and airports are in high priority. A significant amount has been allocated for expanding and completing major strategic highways, expressways, railways and airports. Pokhara International Airport being constructed with the assistance of the China has also got significant chunk of budget.
Besides infrastructure, the budget also focused on social security by increasing the monthly allowance for elderly people.
Nepal has been providing monthly allowance to elderly people, widows, single women, disabled people, and people from backward regions, children of so-called low caste people. The government also launched social security scheme for private sector workers in November last year.