Nepal’s government postponed a budget announcement planned for Monday after the government and opposition failed to reach agreement.
The delay has threatened essential services in the Himalayan nation. Salaries for soldiers, teachers and other government employees could be blocked if the Thursday budget deadline is not met.
A request by President Ram Baran Yadav that the government only present the budget if it enjoyed consensus from all parties was blamed for the delay. A cabinet meeting on the budget was also delayed.
“The government will present the budget ordinance to the president on November 16,” said Narayan Shrestha, the prime minister’s chief personal secretary, who noted more time was needed to reach inter—party consensus.
A delayed budget is already taking a toll, stalling development projects. Senior citizens and the disabled have complained that they had not received monthly stipends for the past several months.
An emergency budget was announced in July by the caretaker government, which expires Thursday. The government has prepared a another spending plan of 460 billion Nepali Rupees that it planned to announce through an ordinance on Monday.
But the opposition says the caretaker government lacks that authority and vowed to block any such move.
“On what principles can you have a budget when there is no parliament?” said Surendra Pandey, former finance minister and an opposition leader.
“The government has to first form a consensus on bailing the country out of political transition before promulgating a budget.” Posta Bahadur Bogati, a minister in the Maoist—led administration, said another emergency budget is necessary because of the political impasse.
“They (the opposition) will not offer us an alternative, but keep harping on the government stepping down,” he said.