Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pandey spent highest, Bhattarai seconds in off budget expenses

The increased off budget expenses has not only worried National Planning Commission but also revealed the trend of misusing the tax payers money for the partisan interest.
"In recent years, the off budget spending has increased making the planning commission more worried of the financial indiscipline," said joint secretary at the National Planning Commission (NPC) Gopi Nath Mainali.
In the fiscal year, 2006-07, the off budget expenses by the finance minister stood at Rs 360 million, which has increased to Rs 1.03 billion in the fiscal year 2007-08," he said, adding that in the fiscal year 2008-09, it further increased to Rs 1.36 billion.
During the fiscal year 2006-07, the finance minister was Dr Ramsharan Mahat of Nepali Congress, whereas in 2007-08, Dr Baburam Bhattarai was the finance minister and in 2008-09, Surendra Pandey was the finance minister.
The successive finance ministers contributed in promoting financial indiscipline for their partisan interest hurting the public purse.

The increasing off budget expenses revealed the government's irresponsibility towards the people and national exchequer, whereas they should have been accountable for the public finance, according to the chairman of Freedom Forum Taranath Dahal.

The Forum is working on making the government more accountable and transparent in public finance. "The government must be transparent and accountable for the maximum utilisation of tax paid by the people," he said, adding that the Forum has also sought various information regarding the public spending using the 'Right to Information' Act.

National Planning Commission alone cannot stop such financial indiscipline until the public spending is made transparent, he added.

The planning commission as a policy think-tank only provides budget ceiling based on three-year Interim Plan or periodic plans. It also provides guidelines for the spending but the Finance Ministry is responsible for monitoring the spending.

The current three-year Interim Plan has planned to spend Rs  1,616.45 billion in the three years, which means the budget for the next fiscal year 2014-15 could stand at around Rs 600 billion as the budget for the current fiscal 2013-14 year stood at Rs 517.24 billion and the next fiscal year.

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