NPPs recorded dismal progress last fiscal

Kathmandu, August 1

Despite getting top priority in budget allocation every year, the financial progress of National Pride Projects (NPPs) in fiscal year 2016-17 continued to remain dismal with an average expenditure of 20 projects averaging only 53.83 per cent. Of the 21 NPPs, the West Seti Hydropower Project received no budget allocation as Investment Board Nepal is still negotiating with Three Gorges Company China — company responsible for constructing West Seti project.

According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the 20 projects spent only Rs 38.96 billion out of total allocated budget of Rs 72.37 billion for 20 NPPs. In the year, performance of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Project was the worst with only 10.98 per cent or Rs 1.97 billion spent out of the total allotted budget of Rs 17.89 billion.

At the other end of the spectrum, Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project and Lumbini Area Development Fund utilised the entire allocated budget last fiscal. Both projects boasted 100 per cent in terms of capital expenditure in the year, shows the data maintained by MoF.

Road projects beside Fast Track reported strong performance in the year according to MoF. Mid-hill Highway and North-South Highway (river-based corridors) had spent 99.66 per cent and 96.73 per cent of the allocated budget, respectively. Meanwhile, Postal Highway that is being constructed in Tarai region achieved capital expenditure of only 50.35 per cent.

Budhigandaki Hydropower Project spent 93.9 per cent of total allotted budget of Rs 5.39 billion. This project has distributed house and land compensations to project-affected people.

Likewise, Melamchi Drinking Water Project used 58.41 per cent out of the total budget of Rs 6.22 billion. The project is expected to be completed within the current fiscal year.

According to MoF, slower capital expenditure was witnessed in the projects handled by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Three projects — South Asia Tourism Reform Project (Gautam Buddha Airport), Pokhara Regional International Airport and Second International Airport (Nijgadh) — spent 55.54 per cent, 20.65 per cent and 67 per cent of the allocated budget, respectively.

According to MoF, delays in finalising the implementation modality of some projects hit expenditure. “The delay in finalising the implementation modality of projects like Budhigandaki Hydropower and Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track affected the overall capital expenditure,” MoF has concluded. “Land acquisition and problems related to forests also hit implementation of the programmes.”