Ministries asked to submit programmes for approval

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 2, 2016-

The National Planning Commission (NPC) on Monday sent a second letter to the ministries which have not submitted their programmes for its approval.

This could result in delayed implementation of development programmes and low spending as it will hit the planned budget cycle, officials said.

The Finance Ministry had asked the ministries on July 17 to get their programmes okayed by the planning body within a week. Many ministries, particularly those involved in large construction projects and receiving huge budgets, have not sent their programmes to the NPC.

According to a senior NPC official, the ministries that have been tardy are Physical Infrastructure, Education, Health, Energy and Local Development.

“Programmes under the NPC, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of General Administration and Ministry of Industry have been approved,” said the NPC official. “We are in the process of approving the programmes submitted by the Supply and Drinking Water ministries. Portions of the programmes sent by the Finance Ministry have been passed.”

Even though the budget was presented early this year on May 28 and it was approved before the new fiscal year began, the approval process for development programmes is likely to take more time than previously anticipated.

Traditionally, the approval process lasts a few months which results in delays in awarding the contracts and eventually progress of infrastructure projects.

According to the NPC official, the ministries had been told in its first letter sent after the budget presentation to make the necessary preparations for sending their programmes as early as possible to the NPC. “But the ministries sent their documents later than we expected,” said the official.

The ministries that have not sent their programmes have cited various reasons for the delay.

The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, which received one of the largest budgets, said that it had more responsibilities than the other ministries whose programmes have been approved.

“All the ministries should not be given the same deadline for sending their programme details to the NPC,” said Arjun Karki, secretary of the Physical Infrastructure Ministry. “I am now not signing the programmes to send to the NPC.”

As this ministry deals with many big and small road and other infrastructure projects across the country, officials said that they had to collect programme details from all over the country which slows them down.

Karki said that his ministry had already directed the agencies under it to start work in line with the programme details inserted in the Line Ministry Budget Information System. Besides the usual practice of not submitting the programmes for approval on time, changes in government might also have led to delays, officials said.

Govinda Nepal, chief economic advisor to the Finance Ministry, said that the bureaucratic leadership of various ministries might have been moving slowly as the country was in the midst of a government change. “If the current government had remained stable, such tardiness among the ministries would not have been permitted,” he said.

Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel had planned to present a Budget Implementation Action Plan in Parliament as budget spending has been consistently poor.

“The proposed action plan has set a deadline for every activity to be carried out to ensure timely implementation of the budgetary programmes with the provision of swift monitoring,” said Nepal. Following the resignation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the caretaker government will not present the document in Parliament, according to Nepal.

Published: 02-08-2016 08:55

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