By Prajwal Shrestha
From the infrastructure development tax on petro-products introduced by the previous KP Sharma Oli led government, the government has been able to collect one billion rupees within one and a half months. The government is collecting five rupees per liter of petro-products to construct the Budhigandaki reservoir hydropower project. The government had started collection of the tax on petro-products from 29 May. The government had aimed to collect seven billion rupees in a year but if the tax is collected at the present ratio, the government will have a fund worth ten billion rupees in a year, which is very much encouraging. This is an evidence that if there is the commitment among the political leaders for nation building, there is no scarcity of funds at all. If the Budhigandaki Project is constructed, the nation can produce 1200 MW electricity. This scribe appreciates the plan for managing funds for this infrastructure project. In addition, if the government would have developed the mechanism of collecting money from the general public as share instead of imposing tax on the consumers, it would be a much more successful plan to develop many other infrastructure projects,, including gthe construction of a railway-line from Kerung to Lumbini by linking China and India; Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track road project and an international airport at Nijgadh. We don’t need to knock the doors of foreign donors to manage funds for such projects.
We are dreaming about construction of the railway line from Kerung to Lumbini by connecting Kathmandu and Pokhara. The KP Sharma Oli led government has already signed a MoU with China to prepare detailed project report for this project. Oli was confident about the construction of the railway line, but our new prime minister Pushpakamal Dahal has little doubt on materialization of this project. Just recently, he had remarked that from where the nation will manage the funds to construct the railway line. The infrastructure development tax can be an eye-opener for Dahal that from where we can manage funds for nation building. Nevertheless, Dahal, if he has a little commitment for nation building, has to change the modality of collecting fund. If a mechanism is developed, the tax can be converted into shares and the consumers of the petro-products will have ownership on such infrastructure projects and also they will have an attraction of receiving bonus from such projects once they start earning profit.
As cited in the past as well, many government organs, including the security institutions, as they have established welfare funds. These organs are seeking options for profitable but secure investment areas. Currently, they have deposited the funds in different banks with very low rate of interests. If the government develops a mechanism so that these institutions can also invest in such infrastructure projects with the government, assurance of profit, the government should not worry about the investment. The only thing is that there should be a strong commitment among the leaders in the government.