The government seems to be on track to give continuity to the trend of low budget execution this fiscal also, as only 57.64 per cent of the total budget of Rs 1,048.92 billion has been spent in the first 11 months.
At this pace, it is unlikely that the government will even be able to meet the revised budget expenditure target of Rs 823.65 billion by the end of this fiscal. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) had revised the budget expenses target during the mid-term review of budget, when it had set the goal of spending 80 per cent of the development budget allocated in fiscal budget 2016-17.
Considering that the total expenditure in the first 11 months stood at Rs 604.64 billion, the government would have to spend Rs 7.06 billion every day to achieve the goal.
More worryingly, despite repeatedly being flagged by all concerned stakeholders, the pace of capital expenditure has remained sluggish. According to the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), only 38.5 per cent or Rs 311.95 billion has been spent in development works, while only a month remains before the fiscal year draws to an end. Development expenditure has remained weak as compared to other headings.
The government spent around 69 per cent or Rs 424.92 billion of the total allocated recurrent budget of Rs 617.16 billion. This budget is utilised to provide grant to the local bodies and to pay salaries of the civil servants, security forces, among others.
Likewise, under financing heading, which is utilised for the principal and interest repayment of the foreign loans and investment in public enterprises, around 50 per cent of the allocated Rs 119.81 billion has been spent in 11 months.
However, the government’s revenue collection is encouraging, with 93.33 per cent of the annual revenue collection target of Rs 565.89 billion already collected in the first 11 months of this fiscal, as per FCGO.
A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.