Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Finance Minister asks secretaries to expedite development expenditure

Finance minister Shankar Koirala, today, asked secretaries from various ministries to expedite capital expenditure meant for development work.
Even as the current fiscal year is coming to an end on July 15, the government has been able to spend only 39 per cent, amounting to Rs 26 billion, of the total Rs 66.13 billion capital expenditure for the current fiscal year 2012-13, by yesterday. However, following in the footsteps of earlier governments, the incumbent government is also planning to spend around 80 per cent of the capital expenditure in around one-and-a -half months.
Though capital spending could not pick up also due to the delayed budget, Koirala urged the bureaucrats from various ministries during the discussion to complete a minimum of 90 per cent of development projects within the current fiscal year.
"If the budget for development projects is not enough, ask the Finance Ministry," he said, advising them not to send contractors to ask for more budget and rather talk through the official channel.
Though he has asked the secretaries to complete development work effectively, the last hour spending on development projects has always been controversial as such spending of public resources has always been without output.
Senior economic advisor to the ministry Dr Chiranjivi Nepal reminded the secretaries not to compromise on quality of the development projects in a haste to spend the budget. "The arbitrary spending habit of successive governments towards the end of the fiscal year has not produced good results and sent a wrong message to the public," he said, asking the secretaries to be responsible while spending public money.
Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi, on the occasion, asked the secretaries to return the budget of their respective ministries, if it is not going to be utilised. "The budget, thus returned, could be channelised to other projects that are in dire need of funds," he added.
The Rs 404.82 billion budget for the current fiscal year 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.
Secretaries from different ministries, on the occasion, complained that the budget has been allocated to heads where it will not be spent. Presenting their progress report, they also asked the finance minister to let them transfer budget from the unused heads to where there is budget deficit.

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