Policy | Program | Annual | Budget | Commitments

President announcing government's policies and programs for upcoming FY 2023/24 | Image Source: RSS
President announcing government's policies and programs for upcoming FY 2023/24 | Image Source: RSS

Economy

Highlights of annual policy and programme for the fiscal year 2023/24

A summary of provisions in the annual policy and programme for the fiscal year 2023/24

By Rima Sah |

On 19th May, Nepal government unveiled its annual policy and programme for the fiscal year 2023/24. Here are some of the commitments put forth in the plan which serves as the basis for the upcoming budget:

1. Regulatory reforms for cooperative societies and MFIs
→ Enhance regulation of microfinance organisations and cooperatives to prevent fraud, restore public confidence in these sectors, and ensure financial stability

2. Industrial development
→ Develop a new ‘Industrial Development Act’ integrating legal provisions directly related to industry and investment promotion
→ Form a high-level study committee to study the issue of operation, cancellation, merger, or necessary management of closed and moribund state-owned industries
→ Bring into operation Hetauda Garment Factory, Gorakhkali Rubber Factory, and Butwal Yarn Factory, which have the possibility of re-operation
→ Reopen a number of long-closed public enterprises — Hetauda Garment Factory, Gorakhkali Rubber Factory, and Butwal Yarn Factory are specifically mentioned as priorities for reopening
→ Mobilise Nepali diplomatic missions abroad to attract foreign investment in the industrial sector
→ Prepare and implement a multi-year plan to establish a chemical fertiliser plant

3. Land use
→ Simplify land availability for commercial agriculture, animal husbandry, and industries based on domestic raw materials
→ Review the land ceiling policy for industries and arrange a policy for the use of barren land

4. Herb farming
→ Encourage research, commercial production, expansion, processing, and marketing of herbs farming
→ Provide forest areas on lease for the commercial production of herbs without inducing deforestation
→ Promote export by strengthening the herb processing laboratory

5. Branding Nepali products
→ Support ‘Make in Nepal’ and ‘Made in Nepal’ campaigns to increase the production and consumption of domestic goods
→ Focus on branding several Nepali products in the international market, including mountain spring water and lenses made by the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology
→ Arrangements will be made for the purchase of domestic products even if they are costlier by up to 20%

6. Focus on electric vehicles and sustainable transportation
→ Pursue policy for the adoption of electric vehicles at public agencies 
→ Make arrangements for the operation of electric transport in all major cities
→ Provide concession to technology for converting gas, diesel, and petrol-powered vehicles into EVs
→ Modernise petroleum distribution systems to improve efficiency and reliability, even as the focus shifts towards electric vehicles

7. Tourism and new mountain peaks for climbing
→ Open more mountain peaks for climbing, attracting tourists and adventure enthusiasts
→ Emphasise film tourism, with an aim to make Nepal a regional film hub

8. Construction of Nijgadh International Airport
→ Despite ongoing controversies, the government remains committed to the construction of the Nijgadh International Airport
→ Iconic bridges on public thoroughfares are also planned to improve connectivity and infrastructure

9. Regulation of ridesharing services
→ In response to the growing popularity of ridesharing services in Nepali cities, the government intends to bring them under the purview of the law to ensure a more organised and secure transportation sector for both drivers and passengers

10. Addressing inequalities and relocation of landless squatters
→ Expedite the work of the National Land Commission 
→ Relocate landless squatters occupying riverbanks in the Kathmandu Valley and other areas to alternative locations
→ Implement an integrated special program for the development of marginalised communities freed Haliya, Kamaiya, Kamlari and Harwa Charwa
→ Arrange ward-level concessional food shops targeting the marginalised and poor families

11. Access to electricity for all households
→ Provide electricity to all households in Nepal within the next two years
→ Arrange special provisions and subsidies for economically disadvantaged households to ensure access to this essential utility
→ Promote the use of electricity for cooking and reduce reliance on cooking gas, conserve resources, and minimise pollution

12. Environmental protection and plastic ban
→ Focus on collaboration between different levels of government for disaster management
→ Pledges to ban the use of plastic bags

13. Restructuring of colleges and universities
→ Restructure universities and colleges by merging and splitting them as necessary and streamline the higher education system

14. Media reforms and integration
→  Merge two state-owned broadcasters — Nepal Television and Radio Nepal to establish a Public Broadcasting Agency
→ Transform the Press Council into a Media Council, with new legal arrangements to regulate content published and broadcasted through all media
→ Enact an umbrella law on mass communication

15. Expanding voting facilities for citizens abroad
→ Addressing a long-standing demand, which has also been directed by the Supreme Court in the past, the government has made a bold announcement of making voting arrangements for Nepali citizens abroad

16. Investigate the acquisition of illegal assets
→ Investigate illegal assets acquired by anyone, including high-ranking officials

17. Sports and infrastructure
→ Upgrade the cricket stadiums in Kathmandu’s Kirtipur and Mulpani to international standards and host international tournaments within two years
→ Initiate foundational works for the construction of cricket stadiums at Bharatpur of Chitwan, Fapla of Kailali, Dashrathchand of Baitadi, and Biratnagar of Morang
→ Make arrangements for a school teacher at every school

18. Implementation of National Identity Card
→ Implement national identity card number requirements for various activities, such as opening bank accounts, obtaining vehicle licenses, issuing house design approvals, and acquiring permanent account numbers within the next three years
→ Carry out citizens' biological details to be taken only once

19. Renew labour agreements
→ Renew labour agreements with countries currently having such agreements to ensure the welfare and rights of Nepali citizens working abroad
→ Identify new labour destination countries

20. Health sector reforms and expansion
→ Construct advanced hospitals for heart and cancer treatment at the provincial level, along with extended outpatient department (OPD) services 
→ Implement the ‘one doctor and one health institution’ policy
→ Focus on autism diagnosis and treatment, domestic production of 98 types of medicines, review health insurance programs and providing infertility treatment across seven provinces
→ Transforming the Department of Drug Administration into the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Health Technology
→ Restructure the Singh Durbar Medical Center and Herb Processing Center

21. Strengthening security and combating crime
→ Empower security agencies with modern technology to control various criminal activities, including terrorism, organised crime, money laundering, violence, cybercrime, and illegal drug trafficking

22. Review tax system review
→ Review the tax system in the next fiscal year to control revenue leakages, under-invoicing, investment in illegal businesses, and capital flight
→ Expand the scope of government revenue by formalising the economy

23. Employment opportunities and skill development
→ Create employment opportunities for 500,000 youths within the country over the next two years
→ Collaborate with the private sector in launching the National Skill Development and Employment Program

Rima Sah is a researcher/writer at the_farsight. She is a graduate in Sociology from South Asian University.

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