NPC to okay programmes before budget presentation

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
NPC to okay programmes before budget presentation

Sep 15, 2014-In a bid to eliminate procedural delays and enable projects to spend the capital budget, the National Planning Commission (NPC) will henceforth approve programmes and projects with action plans for three trimesters before the budget presentation.

The 33th meeting of the National Development Problem Solution Committee headed by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Monday approved the proposal, said NPC Vice-Chairman Govindra Raj Pokharel. “From the next fiscal year, ministries can get the projects approved by NPC before the budget presentation,” he said. “Only if changes are made to the projects, they have to be re-forwarded to NPC.”

The existing tradition of getting the projects approved by NPC after the budget presentation has made the approval process lengthy. And, executing agencies cannot start project implementation right after the budget.

According to a senior NPC official, only 60 percent of 339 first priority (P1) projects have so far been forwarded to the commission although two months have already passed after the budget presentation.

In the last fiscal year, the government could only spend 75.15 percent of the capital budget, while the recurrent expenditure stood at 84.28 percent.

And, only 75.48 percent of the budget allocated under the financing heading was spent. NPC will coordinate with the Finance Ministry to implement the decision and to find out any legal hurdles.

Monday’s meeting, which was attended my ministers, secretaries and other high-level government officials, also approved NPC’s proposal that it would no longer publish the Annual Development Programme Part-II which incorporates district-level projects. “The decision aims at keeping NPC focused on bigger policymaking issues instead of smaller local-level projects,” said NPC member Chandramani Adhikari.

Given duplication of projects chosen under the Annual Development Programme Part II, programmes and projects for which the Local Development Ministry sends conditional grant to local bodies and ones that are implemented with the income of the local bodies, the meeting also decided to ask NPC to prepare a clear guideline and send it to local bodies to avoid duplication. “The guideline will be prepared within the next two months,” said Pokharel.

He said the meeting also asked ministries to prepare their plans and policies only after holding consultations with NPC as there has not been proper coordination.

The NPC had also proposed there should be a clear legal provision for the implementation of National Pride Projects and other big priority projects. The meeting decided to ask NPC to prepare a draft of a bill to address this issue. Given land acquisition for infrastructure projects becoming tough, the meeting asked the Ministry of Land Reforms and Management to prepare a new act on land acquisition and send it to the parliament within the next three months.

As per the NPC proposal, the Act will have a provision that a separate body would be formed to look into land acquisition-related issues.

Amid complaints that project implementation has remained poor due to non-practical provisions in the Public Procurement Act, the Finance Ministry has been asked to submit amendments to the current Act to the Cabinet within the next two months. The Public Procurement Monitoring Office has prepared a draft bill, on which several rounds of discussions have already been held.

-    NPC not to publish  Annual Development Programme Part II

-     Asked to prepare a bill to execute big projects without hurdles

-    To send a guideline to local bodies to avoid duplication of projects

Published: 16-09-2014 09:54

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