Nepal gives priority to health in annual budget, allocates NPR 122 billion for vaccines

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Representative image
Representative image

Kathmandu [Nepal], May 29 (ANI): The caretaker government of Nepal has prioritised the health sector of the nation in the budget of the fiscal year of 2021-22, allocating over NPR (Nepali rupees) 122 billion amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The NPR 1.647 trillion budget has been introduced through ordinance, out of which NPR 26.75 billion will be set aside for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

"Age group left behind in vaccination drive would be provided with the jabs very soon. For the procurement of vaccines I have allocated a total of NPR 26.75 billion," Bishnu Paudel, Finance Minister of caretaker government announced. "I have increased the budget of Ministry of Health and Population to NPR 122 billion."

The finance minister said the current budget was focused on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and the government would do everything in its capacity to tackle the crisis.

Poudel further added that NPR 37.57 billion has been earmarked to curb pandemic while NPR 5.60 billion has been allocated to purchase medicines and equipment corresponding to the same.

Nepal has been reeling under the effect of the second wave of infection and has witnessed a steep rise in cases along with a mortality rate amid a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.

Nepal has so far recorded a total of 553,422 cases of coronavirus. In the meantime, a total of 7,163 have lost their lives to the contagion since the start of the pandemic.

Nepal's budget, which came via ordinance after the dissolution of parliament has 41.2 per cent allocation for recurrent expenditure. A total of 22.7 per cent of the total budget has been designated for capital expenditure; 12.6 percent has been allotted for debt financing and the remaining 23.5 per cent for provincial and local bodies.

The new budget aims to attain an economic growth of 6.5 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year plans to collect NPR 1.024 trillion through revenues and NPR 63.77 billion through foreign grant while the remaining amount will be covered through foreign loans and domestic borrowing.

In an attempt to revive the tourism sector, the government has decided to allow 10 days of paid leave to civil servants and a one-month free visa for tourists touring the Himalayan Nation.

The government in a bid to encourage the use of electronic vehicles has decided to waive renewal and road tax of EVs for the next five years while another plan to replace fossil-fuel vehicles in the next 10 years has also been stipulated. (ANI)

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