Half of capital budget for 2018-19 yet to be spent

Kathmandu, June 20

With less than a month for the ongoing fiscal year to end, the government is yet to spend more than half of the development budget allocated for this year, thereby reflecting the inability of the government to expedite project development throughout the year.

As per the statistics of the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), the development budget expenditure of the government till today (June 20) stands at 48.89 per cent or Rs 154.38 billion of the Rs 313.99 billion allocated for fiscal year 2018-19.

Owing to the failure of the government to boost capital formation programmes and tepid progress of development projects in the current fiscal year, the Ministry of Finance had revised downwards the capital budget for this fiscal year to Rs 265.20 billion, 15.5 per cent down from the previous allocated capital budget of Rs 313.99 billion through the mid-term review report of the budget for fiscal year 2018-19.

Even if we go with the revised capital budget structure, the current development budget spending is 71 per cent of the revised allocation.

However, the government’s total budget spending, including capital expenditure, financing and recurrent, till today stands at 64.12 per cent of the total budget of Rs 1.31 trillion for the ongoing fiscal.

The government has spent Rs 619.29 billion as recurrent expenditure of the total allocated Rs 845.45 billion during the review period. The recurrent expenditure is primarily the spending of the government on non-capital formation programmes such as salaries of government staffers, social security and other expenses.

Likewise, the government has been able to spend 44.74 per cent or Rs 69.66 billion on financing till today out of the total allocated budget of Rs 155.72 billion for the ongoing fiscal.

As the government is obliged to spend a huge chunk of development budget allocated for the ongoing fiscal year within the next few weeks, stakeholders hint the chance of haphazard spending from government agencies in coming days.

Economist Swarnim Wagle believes that the government should improve the bureaucratic and contracting mechanisms in Nepal in a bid to ensure effective capital budget expenditure. “The crux to the low budget spending lies at the bureaucratic and base level, or among contractors,” he said.