Who will be next FinMin?


KATHMANDU, MARCH 4:The formation of a new government is on the horizon after a break in the political alliance between the CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress (NC). The incumbent Prime Minister as well as the Maoist chairperson, Pushpa Kamal Dahal is reshuffling the cabinet by joining hands with the CPN-UML.

In this light, specifically, a question as to who will be the next Finance Minister now seems to have gained much attention and interest. According to sources, the UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Rastraiya Swatantra Party (RSP) are claiming this lucrative post.  But, PM Dahal is trying his best to make a member of his party the chief of the Finance Ministry since he has not felt politically comfortable with the present FM Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat from the NC.

Sometime back, the PM had proposed to distribute billions of rupees as a relief to those affected by the 10-year-long armed conflict. The proposal was a political strategy to benefit the leaders and activists of his party at the cost of the state coffer. So, it was rejected by Minister Mahat, triggering negative vibes between the two.

From the CPN (Maoist Center), the third largest party, two Deputy Secretary Generals- Barsha Ram Pun and Janardan Sharma- are said to be vying for the post of finance minister. In the past, Pun and Sharma both held the ministerial finance portfolio.  Sharma, in particular, was found to have indulged in certain misconducts while heading the Finance Ministry. They are weakening the revenue system and policy corruption while preparing the budget.

The UML is learnt to have forwarded the name of its Bishnu Poudel, also the former FiMin, as its candidate for handling the finance minister. “In order to make it happen, the second largest party is ready to allow the coalition partner- CPN (Maoist Center)- to enjoy three other vital ministries- home, defence and energy.

When it comes to RSP, the fourth largest party, its leader Dr. Swarnim Wagle is seeking to steer the Finance Ministry. Dr. Wagle, who also earlier served as vice-president of the National Planning Commission (NPC), has long been presenting himself as an advocate of neoliberalism.

As per the latest reports, the CPN (Maoist Center) stands a better chance of grabbing the portfolio of the finance ministry. And, its leader Pun is more likely than its other leader Sharma to enjoy the very portfolio.