KATHMANDU, APR 04 -
For the first time since his resignation, Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal appeared at a press conference in Kathmandu to clarify the actual reasons behind his decision to resign. The media is rife with speculation and the main opposition Nepali Congress has obstructed the Parliament over his resignation.
At the press meet, Khanal said he stepped down from his post after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari drafted the supplementary budget outside the ministry, making him realise that he had lost the minister’s confidence. “Neither I nor the joint secretary heading the budget department were informed about the supplementary budget drafting work,” said Khanal.
He also made it clear that he was not against the supplementary budget, but added that he could not accept the bypassing of the ministerial mechanism which he thought was a manifestation of the finance minister’s dwindling confidence in him.
“The finance minister handed me the draft of the supplementary budget drafted outside the ministry, seeking my suggestions over it,” he said. “The draft had programmes of distributive nature instead of projects that would have long term benefits.”
Khanal, however, dismissed other speculations being reported in the media, including his differences with the finance minister over taking action against Value Added Tax (VAT) evaders using fake bills, transfer of employees and the government’s soft stance on the Unity scam.
“Right after assuming his office, the finance minister asked me whether the action against VAT evaders was unnecessarily stern,” said Khanal. “But, he was convinced after we explained to him about the degree of offence they had committed.”
Although Adhikari had claimed that he had no prior knowledge of Khanal’s resignation on Tuesday, Khanal made it clear that he had actually informed the minister on Tuesday morning about his decision. “I told him that I have lost your confidence and I am resigning.”
According to Khanal, the finance minister persuaded him to rejoin his office and also assured him of promotion. “But I am not greedy for positions.” He also had a telephone conversation with Adhikari on Saturday. “He asked me to rejoin the office, but I refused,” said Khanal.
Saying that he does not support the obstruction of the Parliament, Khanal urged all not to politicise his resignation. He also expressed determination that he would not return to the job for which he was paid from the state coffers.
When suggested to take up the job of CIAA chief, he said he had no intention of taking up any job where the government’s money is involved.