Budget crisis highlights Nepal’s post-war troubles
Months of political deadlock have plunged Nepal into a budget crisis that could leave 500,000 workers unpaid from this week in the latest sign of the country’s woes since civil war ended in 2006.
Nepal has not had a parliament or fully functioning government since June and has been surviving on emergency funds which run out on November 15 unless rival parties agree on a new budget.
With no deal likely, the Maoist caretaker administration faces being unable to pay teachers, nurses, police and soldiers. “The budget plays a critical role in the remuneration for hundreds of thousands of civil servants,” Kathmandu- based economics analyst Gokarna Awasthi told media. “Pensions for the elderly haven’t been paid and development activities are at a standstill. In over two dozen hill districts, the economy is dependent on government expenditure. Small businesses cannot survive without it.”
November 20 marks the sixth anniversary of the peace deal that ended the decade-long Maoist insurgency which claimed more than 16,000 lives. A tentative calm returned after the Maoists swept to power in 2008 elections but Nepalese politics has been in flux ever since, with rival parties swapping control of the government several times.