Kathmandu, December 30
With only a day left before the year ends, a reflection on the past 12 months does not make 2019 a remarkable year for the country’s economy, as development activities failed to gather momentum while growth remained sluggish.
Against the government’s ambitious plan to achieve 8.5 per cent economic growth in fiscal 2019-20, indicators of the economy were not so encouraging though we are nearing the mid-point of the current fiscal year.
Low capital spending, sluggish development activities
There was not much to celebrate in 2019 when looked at through the economic lens, as per experts.
“Unperturbed by regional economic slowdown, expected annual growth of six per cent is positive. However, there were no major returns and the economy still remains sluggish and tepid,” opined senior economist Swarnim Wagle.
Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada had defended the slow economic growth in 2018-19 citing that the government throughout the year was focused on developing regulatory framework in line with federalism and the needs of the business community.
He had mentioned that with the completion of formulating necessary laws and policies in 2018- 19, focus would be given to effective budget implementation, development activities and economic growth in 2019-20.
However, the plague of ineffective budget implementation, slow project development and sluggish economic progress remained the same in 2019.
The government was unable to accelerate capital budget spending properly, which directly affects the pace of development activities. As per the statistics of Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), development expenditure of the government till today stood at mere 10.24 per cent of Rs 408 billion allocated for the fiscal 2019-20.
Along with this, a number of projects that were expected to be completed within 2019, including the Gautam Buddha International Airport and Melamchi Drinking Water Supply Project, among others, are still a work in progress.