Monday, April 15, 2013

Government needs to expedite development expenses

The government has been able to spend only 27.33 per cent of the capital expenditure by the end of nine months of the current fiscal year, which is lower than the expenditure of last fiscal year's same period.
"There is no option to expedite the development expenditure in the remaining months," said finance minister Shankar Koirala during a meeting at the ministry here today.
By the nine months — that is only three months remaining to end the current fiscal year 2012-13 — some eight agencies have spent less than 10 per cent, some 13 agencies have spent between 13 to 25 per cent and only 18 agencies have spent over 25 per cent, according to the Finance Ministry.
"If the agencies can guarantee development spending with proper work plan, the ministry could release additional budget also, he added. "There will be no budget crunch for the projects of national pride, essential projects and campaigns."
Koirala also directed the ministries to send their projects for final approval from the National Planning Commission (NPC) within a week. "The projects that do not get final approval from NPC within April 21, could not be passed and will not get budget," he said, asking to reduce recurrent expenditure and expedite the capital expenditure. "The ministries should also promote good governance."
However, some five ministries have around 62 per cent questionable expenses, according to the report of Auditor General, who has asked the government to be more transparent and accountable to the people in public spending.
On the occasion, various ministries reported their progress in the meeting that also dwelt on ways to increasing effective development expenditure.
The government had last week on April 9 brought a full-fledged budget of Rs 404.82 billion, after eight months of the fiscal year, for the first time in six decades of budgetary history.
The budget has earmarked Rs 279.1 billion as recurrent expenditure and Rs 66.13 billion as capital expenditure, apart from Rs 59.67 billion for financial management.
However, the government has been unable to spend the capital expenditure also due to delay in full-fledged budget. The earlier government led by Dr Baburam Bhattarai had brought interim public expenditure arrangements twice due to its failure in forging consensus on budget. The delay has cost the economy as it nosedived to the six year low to 3.56 per cent.
Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi on the occasion, explained the current trend of expenditures. He also asked the officials to abide by the financial regulations and cut unnecessary expenses, and ask budget on time as in the past years, there had been a tradition of asking the budget till the end of the fiscal year too.

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