The first meeting of the Finance Committee under the Federal Parliament took place today.
On the occasion, discussion was held about the activities to be carried out by the government through polices, programmes and budget of upcoming fiscal year for improving current situation of the economy.
Lawmakers specially stressed on different issues including country's current economic situation , course of action for the upcoming year's policies, programmes and budget, corruption control and good governance. They also raised the issue of appointment of lawmakers in parliamentary committees with conflicting interest and allegation of irregularities in distribution of new license of stock exchange in the meeting.
Speaking in the meeting, former Finance Minister and lawmaker Bishnu Prasad Poudel said committee members would be informed about the agendas of the meeting earlier and discussion would be held.
He also stressed to finalize the selection of President of the Committee, suggesting the Finance Minister to implement suggestions of the Parliamentary Committee at a time when country's economy is in difficulty.
Poudel further said the Finance Committee could provide some policy-level suggestions about the budget and the government should move ahead taking committee's support in such difficult situation.
Saying there is a crisis in the economy due to past policies and practices, another former Finance Minister and lawmaker Gyanendra Bahadur Karki mentioned that country's economy should be improved making short-term, mid-term and long-term policy.
Similarly, lawmaker Padam Giri stressed that the Committee should inquire about the past studies and its implementation status regarding new stock exchange and broker license.
The Committee should immediately carryout study as there is a doubt of financial irregularities while granting new stock and broker license, he opined.
Likewise, lawmaker Gyan Bahadur Shahi expressed the view that the Committee should be informed about the measures taken by government improve country's economy.
"The Finance Minister should be called in next meeting of the Committee and he should inform the Committee about measures taken by the government to improve economy," he shared.
Biraj Bhakta Shrestha and Narayan Prasad Acharya raised the issue of conflict of interest in the appointment of members to the parliamentary committee. "Conflict of interest foments policy-level corruption. Moreover, there is a conflict of interest in one or the other way in the Finance Committee. We should consider such issues as well even for promoting the fiscal good governance," Shrestha elaborated.
Acharya demanded that the issue of appointment of lawmakers in the committee showing conflict of interest should be taken seriously.
Narayani Sharma said that since the Finance Committee is a forum to question the present situation of the economy and seek solutions, the agendas and the topics to be discussed in the meeting should be well prioritised.
MP Chhiring Damdul Lama (Bhote) stressed that the parliamentary committee members should rise above partisan lines and forge common opinion through cooperation and coordination among each other in the committee on issues of national interest.
Deepak Khadka echoed Lama and stressed on making the works of the committee effective and efficient.
Purna Bahadur Tamang urged the government to make some important announcements through the budget for the next fiscal year regarding increasing the use of electric vehicles and electric oven. He stressed replacing the old taxis with electric ones in the Kathmandu Valley.
Ganga Karki opined that the problems seen in the economy at present were not recent but the results of the wrong policies and working style since long.
"Corruption, rent-seeking and commission mongering are the present problems," she said and suggested massive cut back on unnecessary expenditure.
Mukta Kumari Yadav pointed out the need of presenting common suggestion through the Finance Committee for the improvement of the economy.
Anjani Shrestha and Rana Kumari Balampaki Magar called for stopping youth's exodus to foreign countries, increasing domestic production by operating factories and industries and promoting collective farming and cattle rearing for increasing production. They suggested that the committee should give practical suggestions to the government for including in the next fiscal year's budget for economic improvement.