‘Implementing capacity of local units need to be enhanced’

Kathmandu, June 3

As the local bodies are going to mobilise a large chunk of resources from next fiscal, experts and development partners have urged that the capacity of local units be enhanced to utilise the allocated resources in a proper manner.

The fiscal budget 2017-18 has announced that Rs 225 billion grant would be transferred to local units and they would be selecting and implementing the local level programmes as per their development need from next fiscal.

Local units have been formed only recently and they still lack administrative backing and expertise to handle the projects, according to former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat. “The fiscal transfer alone cannot deliver the desired results, until and unless we raise the capacity of the local units.”

He further said that inadequate human resources and lack of required expertise to implement the budget could result in poor quality work and delay in delivery. The government should give special priority to creating necessary administrative and physical infrastructure for the local bodies, according to Mahat.

As announced by the fiscal budget, local level programmes run by the ministries and the departments should be transferred to the local units for implementation. The central government has to transfer projects of up to Rs 20 million to metropolitan city and sub-metropolitan city, projects of up to Rs 10 million to municipalities and projects up to Rs five million to the rural municipalities.

Development partners have also urged the government to focus on enhancing the capacity of the local governments. The Local Governance Bill, which is the main act for the local government, is currently in the Cabinet. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has already received the approval regarding the number of staffers to be arranged at local level. However, they are yet to be deputed to the local level.

Jun Sakuma, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nepal Office, said that along with setting up the office of new local units, capacity development is a crucial component for the newly elected representatives and newly deputed staffers. He emphasised on the need for training on local governance, leadership, accountability, office administration and management and gender and social inclusion for local government.

Local units need to prepare a gender and social inclusion responsive periodic development plan along with an annual plan for coming fiscal and implement the projects accordingly, as per Sakuma.

The government has also said that the capacity enhancement through proper administrative backing and adequate training programmes to the local governments is in priority. However, appointment of adequate number of staffers and training programmes for them have yet to be carried out.