Priority to Infrastructure Projects, Reconstruction and Rebranding

The government has put development of airports and rebranding of country’s tourism after the devastating earthquake of April 25 in its priority.

Minister for Finance Ram Sharan Mahat presented the budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16 on Tuesday. Through the budget, the government has unveiled plans to invest in expansion of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), and construction of regional international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara, and small airports in rural hill districts. The budget, however, is silent on the development of second international airport in Nijgadh of Bara. But it has allocated budget for construction of an expressway to link Nijgadh with Kathmandu and develop Nijgadh as a smart city.

The government has allocated Rs1.75 billion for TIA expansion plan. Similarly, it has set aside Rs 2.50 billion for the upgradation of Gautam Buddha Airport of Bhairahawa into a regional international airport. The airport is expected to be completed by December 2017.

Similarly, the government plans to start construction work on regional international airport in Pokhara after distributing compensation to landowners in 2015/16.

In a bid to ease traffic congestion at TIA, the government has said it would encourage domestic airlines to provide services from airports outside Kathmandu.

The government has also allocated funds for upgradation of facilities at airports in Rajbiraj, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Biratnagar.

Similarly, the government has earmarked Rs 1.01 billion for reconstruction of heritage sites and places of cultural significance as well as for tourism promotional activities. The government has also unveiled plan to conduct safety audit of tourism destinations in quake-hit districts to boost visitors’ confidence. Budget has also been allocated for development of Lumbini and Janakpur. “The Greater Lumbini master plan will be executed and initial works on developing the Buddhist Circuit will be started in the coming fiscal year,” Mahat said, presenting the budget.

Likewise, the government has also earmarked funds to conduct feasibility study of Salleri-Chaurikharka-Mt Everest tourism road and for development of the Great Himalaya Trail. It has also given continuity to the facility of 100 percent tax exemption for entrepreneurs willing to build resorts near Rara Lake in Mugu district.