Nepal: Speaker stresses on pre-budget discussion in parliament

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Speaker Subas Nembang has said it would be appropriate to hold pre-budget discussion in the parliament when the government is not providing any business to run the House.

As the government has made commitment to bring budget earlier this year to ensure adequate pre-budget discussion on budget policies and priorities, it would be wise to have pre-budget consultations at the moment, he said.

Responding the queries, Nembang said, "The system to hold pre-budget discussion as what type of budget will be made public through the Legislature-Parliament is far better. We do have also the provision of pre-budget discussion but it was conducted only one time in the budget history of Nepal".

There is no business in the parliament except the bill on forming Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Nembang added.

Speaker further said the parliament could expedite discussions on the important bills including electricity bill, bill to integrate criminal code and work procedure and civil code and work procedure, which were registered in the parliament but stalled with the dissolve of the parliament earlier time.

The Speaker has time and again drawn the attention of the government to hold pre-budget discussion and move ahead the process to create debate on the stalled bills.

The pre-budget discussion is deemed important to ensure civic participation in the budget process and make the national budget making result-oriented and pro-public.

In democratic country, the pre-budget discussion is held to make public the key policies and priorities of the budget that matters the lives of the citizens. According to the international standard, the pre-budget statement should be made public at least a month before the executive tables the budget in the legislature. Nepal has not yet adopted such practice, which means it has limited opportunity for public to debate on the budget. 

SOURCE: My Republica, April 19th 2014: