House panel seeks details on fund assurance, payments
Kathmandu, July 13
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament has instructed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to furnish all the details of fund assurance and payments released to all the government projects within a week.
In the meeting of the House panel, lawmakers have alleged that MoF has been providing rampant fund assurance to new projects that were not included in the fiscal budget.
The trend of providing fund assurance is against fiscal discipline, according to Dor Prasad Upadhyay, chairman of PAC. “The executive has to be strict regarding taking Parliament’s approval while spending taxpayers’ money.”
Since capital spending is low, the MoF has been providing fund assurance to new projects proposed by various ministries. MoF, however, has claimed that the fund assurance that has been given to the projects that were included in the budget should not be halted due to lack of resources. MoF has provided fund assurance worth Rs 5.58 billion in the last three months, according to Kewal Prasad Bhandari, chief of the Budget Division under MoF. “Fund assurance has been provided only for crucial road-, irrigation- and health-related projects.”
Assurance of fund to the projects under various ministries in last three months
Physical Infrastructure and Transport
Rs 4.24 billion
Rs 1.11 billion
Rs 1.11 billion
Federal Affairs and Local Development
Rs 0.09 billion
Though MoF officials claim that they have not provided fund assurance to projects that are not included in the budget, the PAC lawmakers have presented evidences of projects for which the MoF had given assurance of fund on January 23 this year. The House panel had also instructed the finance ministry not to provide fund assurance to projects that are not included in the budget and also to small projects. Lawmakers today also summoned MoF officials to take stock of its earlier decision.
The MoF recommends the District Treasury Control Office to release payments based on the bills raised by the projects, which received fund assurance from MoF, after completion of works. “There is a trend of providing fund assurance to projects in the election constituencies of influential people and also in nexus between politicians and bureaucracy,” said Upadhyay.
“The MoF should focus on coordinating with ministries to properly implement the budget that was approved by the Parliament. The progress of a majority of big-ticket projects has been dismal as the executing agencies are not serious about expediting the project works,” stated Upadhyay.