Freedom Forum has called for timely production and discussion of Pre-Budget Statement in a memorandum letter with Finance Minister Dr. Prakasharan Mahat.
According to the Constitution of Nepal, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year must be presented to the Federal Parliament on June 15. There is an international practice that the government should publish the pre-budget statement at least one month before the executive budget is presented to the parliament.
The budget session of the Parliament has not been called in Nepal at present. Since the pre-budget discussion has become uncertain, citizen participation & parliamentary participation in the budget will be weak and there will be no budget transparency. Thus Freedom Forum has drawn attention to this.
Pre-Budget Statement is considered an important budget document to be prepared by the government every year at the initial stage of the budget formulation process. Making the government’s economic policy as universally acceptable as possible, creating a situation where parliamentarians and ordinary citizens can give meaningful suggestions to the government during budget formulation and promoting the practice of participatory budget formulation before the executive budget proposal, the pre-budget statement should be prepared, published and discussed.
The Constitution of Nepal and the Fiscal Procedures and Financial Accountability Act have presented sufficient constitutional and legal basis for promoting citizen participation in the process of public finance management including financial governance but there is a lack of any such practice in the current climate.
Pre-budget discussions and consultations based on blank political documents without facts and figures cannot have an impact on the budget and the overall financial policy. Taranath Dahal, Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Forum, said that this memorandum letter was submitted so that the Ministry of Finance would prioritize the publication and discussion of the pre-budget statement, which is the starting point of citizen participation
As the date of presentation of the budget in the Parliament is approaching on Jestha 15th, Freedom Forum has brought to the attention of the government that Pre-Budget Statement should be made public at least one month in advance by adopting the international best practice regarding the publication of the said statement and create an environment for wider level public discussion on data-enriched Pre-Budget Statement.