Print Edition - 2016-12-09  |  MONEY

Actual budget spending reaches 6.5pc in first four months of FY

- Post Report, Kathmandu
House panel criticises the government for not being able to spend the money set aside for development projects

Dec 9, 2016- The government was able to spend only 6.5 percent of the Rs311-billion development budget in the first four months of the current fiscal year, reflecting the slow pace of development projects. Capital expenditure as of December 7 amounted to Rs20 billion. 

The parliamentary Development Committee on Thursday criticized the government for not being able to spend the money set aside for development projects. 
Concerned by the poor spending, the House panel on Thursday directed the government and the concerned line ministries to prioritize development works and increase development expenditure. 
The meeting asked the government, the ministries of Finance, Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Federal Affairs and Local Development and the National Planning Commission to productive use of the budget allocated for development works.  
“Almost five months of the fiscal year has passed, but the development expenditure stands at a meagre 6 percent,” said Rabindra Adhikari, chair of the committee. “This fact clearly shows that our development work is being carried out at an alarming slow place. It also indicates that the executive has very little will for development.”
Adhikari also blamed the practice of allocating funds for projects without proper preparation for the low level of expenditure, and directed the concerned authorities to stop setting aside money for projects that are not ready.   
The committee also pointed to delays in approving development projects, obstruction at project sites by locals, lack of construction materials and the government’s failure to blacklist non-performing contractors for the low development expenditure. 
The panel has instructed the concerned authorities to send a list of government officials failing to submit details of the development expenditure under their purview within 15 days. “Moreover, contractors who fail to complete their projects on time should be blacklisted immediately,” said Adhikari.    
Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi blamed political instability for the low development expenditure saying frequent changes in government followed by changes in the bureaucracy created chaos in the development effort. 
“How many secretaries and government officials who submit a budget allocation request remain long enough in their posts to spend the money when it is finally approved?” said Subedi. Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said that the Finance Ministry was concerned about the low development expenditure, and added that they issued a 10-point directive on November 23 telling the concerned agencies to expedite development expenditure in a legitimate manner.
Daya Kant Jha, deputy director general of the Department of Roads, blamed lack of coordination among different agencies and inadequate human resources 
at the department for its inability to spend the development budget. “We have been given Rs49 million to build an outer ring road in Kathmandu, but we have no idea where to spend the money,” said Jha. “At the same time, we owe Rs80 million to road contractors in Janakpur. Likewise, our department is seriously understaffed as our workforce hasn’t expanded for the last two decades.” 

Published: 09-12-2016 10:43

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