Kathmandu, July 4
In view of slow development spending and delivery of substandard works, Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has summoned all the ministries responsible for the capital expenditure along with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and National Planning Commission.
CIAA has asked for clarification from the ministries as the anti-graft body has been flooded with thousands of complaints about misuse of funds, delivery of substandard works and lack of accountability in implementing agencies.
The ministries have been asked to monitor the development projects regularly, so that complaints to the CIAA could be minimised in coming days.
“Most of the complaints are regarding delays and delivery of substandard works,” said Jibraj Koirala, spokesperson for CIAA, adding, “Ministries have to strengthen their monitoring units to expedite the development projects and also ensure quality of works.”
Slow capital expenditure and delivery of substandard quality of works have become a regular trend as the country passes through long political transition.
Development expenditure in this fiscal as of Monday was merely 44 per cent of the total allocation worth Rs 311.95 billion. The government had aimed at spending 80 per cent of the total capital budget in this fiscal against around 50 per cent in the previous fiscal. However, it seems the government will not be able to spend more than half of the allocated development budget in this fiscal as well.
Implementing agencies and their line ministries have been criticised for lack of project preparation, weak contract management, lack of monitoring capacity and lack of decision-making capacity for the slow capital expenditure. Even the progress of the projects that are being implemented is not satisfactory, as per CIAA. The anti-graft body has also urged the ministries to hold the contractors accountable for substandard works to improve quality of projects.
The CIAA has also urged the MoF not to ensure funds to the new projects that are not included in the budget citing the possibilities of fund embezzlement. In the past, the MoF used to transfer the unspent fund of one project to another to increase the development expenditure. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of providing assurances of funds to the projects that are not included in the budget.
“Mostly influential individuals tend to get assurance of fund from MoF for small projects at the local level, but there are chances of fund embezzlement in granting funds to these projects as they are not properly monitored,” CIAA told the Finance Ministry.
A version of this article appears in print on July 05, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.