KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Education has arrears amounting to Rs 20 billion, which is about one-third of the total education budget for the fiscal 2011/12.
The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee’s sub-committee, which looks into unauthorised spending, has dusted audit reports that had been gathering dust for the last four years and started discussions with MoE officials last week to recoup the sum. Four years ago, the illegal spending stood at around 14 billion rupees.
Of the Rs 20 billion, the Tribhuvan University alone has spent Rs 9 billion illegally. PAC joint-secretary Som Bahadur Thapa said, “Previous governments did not present audit reports at the Parliament. As PAC could not get the reports, it could not hold discussions on unauthorised spending. This caused increase in illegal spending.”
Taking permission from Speaker Subas Chandra Nemabang, PAC has started discussions on audit reports, according to Thapa.
“The sub-committee has directed the education ministry to deal with fiscal indiscipline within three months. All officials involved in unauthorised spending will be booked if the ministry fails to come clean,” said sub-committee coordinator Sarbadev Ojha. Though PAC has directed the ministry to retrieve the illegally-spent sum, officials said retrieving the money will be difficult as many officials involved in illegal spending are no longer in the same office, while several have retired. “However, this directive has sent a message to the authorities,” the official said. Universities, in the capacity of autonomous institutions, have breached rules and regulations of the government, according to Ojha. “They should be brought under the purview of law,” added Ojha. The government has not presented the 49th audit report, even after receiving it from the Office of the Auditor General a month ago, to Parliament.