House panel instructs NPC to shorten project approval process

Kathmandu, December 8

The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has instructed National Planning Commission (NPC) — the apex planning body of the government — to shorten the programme approval process to authorise line ministries to spend the allocated budget by recognising the line ministry budget information system (LMBIS).

The meeting of the parliamentary panel has said that programmes and procurement plans approved by NPC and Ministry of Finance (MoF) during budget making process need not again be submitted to NPC seeking its approval to spend the allocated budget. “This process has been causing delays for the ministries to authorise line agencies to spend the budget because NPC takes months to give its go-ahead to the submitted files,” said Rabindra Adhikari, chairman of the Development Committee.

The instruction of the Development Committee has come at a time when the line agencies under various ministries have pointed out that programme implementation process gets stalled due to delay in approval from NPC. The government had presented the budget 45 days before the start of this fiscal 2016-17, which is termed as ‘early budget’. This was aimed at ensuring early endorsement of the budget from the Parliament so that the line ministries could authorise spending allocated budget from day one of the fiscal. However, delay in the approval of the programmes has been hindering in accelerating expenditure.

Till yesterday, the government’s capital expenditure stood at Rs 20.44 billion, which is a paltry 6.55 per cent of the total allocation of Rs 311.95 billion for this fiscal.

The parliamentary panel has also instructed the line ministries and line agencies to expedite the procurement process and other procedural aspects and start physical works of the development projects as soon as possible.

The panel instructed the ministries to work towards spending above 90 per cent of the allocated budget during this fiscal.

The MoF has already urged the ministries to surrender the allocated budget of any project that show nil performance by the end of second quadrimester of this fiscal.