‘Audit body needed to control expenses’

Kathmandu, September 9:

The lack of ‘special audit system’ in Nepal has been accused of creating problems in controlling irregularities in the public sector. Banshidhar Ghimire, former financial comptroller general, while discussing financial management of the public sector in Nepal said that in recent days, due to lack of certain committees, irregularities raised by the Auditor General’s office are not being debated which in itself is indicative of a serious problem.

Earlier, the issue of irregularities/budgetary provisions of the government and public sector organs were discussed at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) within the parliament, but these days due to the absence of parliament, it has been problematic to discuss budgetary expenditures.

Despite the preparation of a public procurement system act, it is yet to be implemented, said Ghimire adding that the internal audit manual is also not being implemented which has directly hit the government’s ability to control expenditure. “What is more pathetic is that of the total irregularities seen in the comptroller general’s document, 36 per cent alone has been incurred from advances,” said Ghimire.

He was of the opinion that long-term projects have been hit hard due to budget provisions on a yearly basis and lack of funds/resources. The budget has ignored periodic plans, he added.

Demand for resources from concerned bodies exceeds resource availability, he said. He alleged that very few government secretaries submit their reports and expense details to the comptroller general office within the stipulated timeframe. What the former bureaucrat suggested is that central administration has to expedite its monitoring mechanisms with enhanced capacity to control expenses and irregularities to make effective and sound management system of the budget.

Shree Sharma ‘Moorkha’, a member of MAN drew attention to procedural problems in budgetary expenses of the government and other organisations. K B Kayal, a chartered accountant, raised the issue of advance in the government accounts and other procedural problems. Other experts at the programme organised by the Management Association of Nepal (MAN) also raised issues of corruption, irregularities in public sector, lack of auditing, lack of transparency and weak monitoring by government bodies.