Ministers concerned about low spending

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu
Ministers concerned about low spending

Feb 11, 2015-

Ministers on Wednesday expressed concern about low capital spending at a meeting of the National Development Action Committee chaired by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

With the capital expenditure standing at just 16 percent of the allocated budget, the government’s treasury has swelled to Rs 91 billion, according to official data.

Ministries that have been allocated the largest funds have performed poorly. The Energy Ministry has so far spent just 6.6 percent of the allocation, while the Irrigation Ministry’s spending stands at just 16 percent. According to National Planning Commission (NPC), the Home Ministry’s capital spending has reached around 62 percent of the allocation, the largest as a percentage of the allocated budget.

Speaking at the 34th meeting of the National Development Action Committee (NDAC), Minister for Urban Development Narayan Khadka expressed dissatisfaction over low spending even at the time when protests have declined. He stressed on the need for increasing budget for monitoring under-construction projects to speed up expenditure.

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi said the existing Public Procurement Act was the main reason behind low capital expenditure as the law makes procurement process lengthy. “There is an urged need to endorse the new Act. If it can’t be done through the legislature, it should be introduced through ordinance,” he said.

Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Mahesh Acharya said that slow progress of P1 (first priority) projects had been affecting capital expenditure in particular. He urged the government to increase the frequency of inspections and evaluations of the projects.

According to an NPC report, more than 80 percent work on 93 (out of 339) P1 projects has been completed. Around 50-79 percent work on 82 projects has been over, while 81 projects have witnessed less than 50 percent of their work complete. Status of 83 other projects is unknown.

Out of 21 National Pride Projects, 10 have seen more than 80 percent of their work done, while 50-75 percent work on five projects have completed. Two National Pride Projects have completed less than 50 percent of work, while the progress of 4 other projects are unknown.

NPC Vice-chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel said the ministries cited problems such as shortage of construction materials, hassles due to the Public Procurement Act and land acquisition-related problems, among others, for slow progress of the projects.

Issues like growing trade deficit, transfer of government employees and delay in contract awarding were among other issues raised by the ministers during the meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam underscored the need for promoting the use of domestic products in various government agencies like security forces and ministries to minimise trade deficit.

Stability for development: PM

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has urged parties to maintain political stability for the sake of development. “At a time when investors are interested in Nepal, lack of stability has deterred them,” he said. Expressing concern about low capital expenditure, Koirala asked government officials to spend in development projects without hesitation. “As we have failed to contribute from our side, capital expenditure has not giving desired results,” said Koirala, adding the current trend of spending the budget at the end of the fiscal year has resulted in poor quality of development projects. (PR)

Published: 12-02-2015 09:41

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