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Many local governments are once again caught in budget presentation delay

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Jun 27, 2019-

Balan-Bihul Rural Municipality of Saptari district presented the budget for the current fiscal year in December 2018 which was endorsed by village assembly only on April 13 this year. 

The rural municipality failed to present the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-20 as well. 

“Due to differences over allocation of budget among different wards, the budget for the current fiscal year was presented late and its endorsement was also delayed for the current fiscal year,” said Dayananda Goit, chairman of the rural municipality. “But there is not much dispute regarding the budget for the next fiscal year and we aim to present the budget by July 6.”

According to an employee at Balan-Bihul, presence of representatives from different political parties at the ward also delayed the presentation of budget for the current fiscal year. 

Although the chairman of the rural municipality is from the erstwhile Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (Now, Samajwadi Party Nepal)--the candidates of Nepal Communist Party and Rastriya Janata Party lead at the ward level.

As per the Act on Intergovernmental Fiscal Arrangement, the local government must present their budget by June 25, but the law is being violated in a number of local governments since elected representatives assumed office after the 2017 local elections.

Although the federal government had warned of cutting the grants to the local governments for failing to present the budget on time, it has not taken such step yet.

“We have not thought about taking any action because our priority will be to facilitate them to present budget as early as possible,” Bhupal Baral, spokesperson at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, told the Post. 

The ministry on Wednesday sought details about budget presentation from the local governments.

Kalyanpur Muncipality of Siraha is another local government that  missed the budget presentation deadline for the next fiscal year. 

“Indecision of the board of the executive delayed the budget presentation because the board is represented by people from different political parties,” said Mayor Surya Nath Mandal. 

“We have set a target of presenting the budget by July 10 by accommodating the views of all representatives.”

The municipality had also delayed the presentation of its budget for the current fiscal year by several months. 

According to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, more than 50 local governments had failed to present the budget in time for the current fiscal year. This had hit the development projects at the local level. 

If the concerned local governments fail to present and endorse their budgets for the next fiscal year at the earliest, their constituencies won’t be seeing much of development works.     

But there are also some positive developments happening apropos the budget presentation in some parts of the country.   

In Bhagawanpur Rural Municipality of Siraha, the village assembly has begun to plan the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 

“The assembly passed the policies and programme of the rural municipality on Tuesday,” said Bechan Prasad Yadav, chairman of the municipality. “The budget will be presented in the next few days.”

It was a huge relief for Yadav who had had a torrid time presenting the budget for the current fiscal year due to non-cooperation from the representatives of other political parties. 

The rural municipality had presented the budget for the current fiscal year only on May 3. 

Kalyanpur Municipality of Siraha has also been fortunate this time as it presented budget for next fiscal year on Tuesday. It was a major success for the municipality which was struggling to present its budget for the current fiscal year until May.

Mayor Dharmendra Prasad Patel said he has to bring together all the elected representatives to pass the budget. 

“There is still time left for endorsing the budget. I will make an effort to reach an understanding with all elected representatives at the municipality,” he said.

Published: 27-06-2019 09:01

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