Bud­get cri­sis high­lights Nepal’s post-war troubles

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

KATH­MANDU

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.

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