FM tells officials to make early start on budget

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
FM tells officials to make early start on budget

Mar 5, 2015-

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat on Thursday directed ministry officials to begin preparing the budget early so that it would be ready for presentation by mid-May.

The government wants to issue the annual financial plan for the next fiscal well in time as the current year’s budget had been delayed due to a political stalemate.

As a result, the awarding of contracts was held up leading to poor capital budget spending since it normally takes two-three months for the programmes and projects to be approved by the National Planning Commission (NPC) after the budget is presented.

An early presentation of the budget is expected to help the government complete the project approval process with time to spare so that the awarding of contracts and expenditure can be speeded up. The government has also made preparations to have most of the programmes okayed before the budget is presented. Finance Minister Mahat on Thursday summoned ministry officials and directed them to start preparations, the ministry said in a press statement. Mahat said that the next budget would focus on completing ongoing infrastructure projects.

“We have been talking a lot about issuing the budget well in advance of the beginning of the new fiscal year, but we have failed to do so resulting in poor spending in development projects,” said Mahat.

As of March 3, capital expenditure has just reached the 19 percent mark. The resource committee headed by NPC Vice-Chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel has fixed the budget ceiling for the next fiscal year at Rs 735 billion.

The upper limit is 19 percent higher than the budget for the current fiscal year.

Mahat also instructed ministry officials to ask other ministries to submit their programmes and the estimated funding requirement. Since the development budget has remained unspent as funds were earmarked for projects before they were ready for implementation, Mahat has asked them to include only projects whose feasibility studies have been done completed and those that can be implemented without hassles.

Mahat said that the government should be ready to build the Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track on its own as it was in the negotiation phase with the bidder.

Published: 06-03-2015 09:26

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