Kathmandu, April 12
The 56th annual report of Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has recommended the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP) to reduce administrative expenditure.
According to the OAG report published today, the project spent a total of Rs 283 million for administrative purpose and around Rs 324 million for furniture, machinery and transportation in fiscal 2017-18. This means while the actual spending of the project stood at around Rs 2.24 billion, a total of Rs 607 million was spent on administrative works only.
As per the report, the aforementioned amount was spent to set up offices for 10 super zones, 39 zones, including the project implementation office under the project. “The project implementation has been decentralised and the district level projects will be implemented by the local governments. Thus, it is pointless to spend more money on establishing offices, as it will unnecessarily raise expenditure of the project,” reads the report.
Targeting to increase the productivity of the country’s agricultural sector along with the management of new technologies, PMAMP had been endorsed on January 10, 2017.
While the OAG has recommended PMAMP to refrain from unnecessary expenditure, it has also said that around Rs 417 million allocated for Project for Agricultural Commercialisation and Trade (PACT) will remain unutilised. According to the OAG report, 19.13 per cent or 232 sub-projects of PACT have remained non-operational.
PACT had been initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development with the help of World Bank targeting to improve the country’s agriculture sector.
According to the ministry, the project had utilised only 40 per cent of the allocated budget in the first eight months of fiscal year 2017-18. Construction of three buildings for fruits and flower wholesale market in Chobhar is in final phase under the project. Likewise, the construction of infrastructure for livestock wholesale market in Damak, fruits and vegetable market in Dhanusha and fruit market in Katahari have been completed.
Meanwhile, the ministry has admitted slow progress of such projects that were initiated to develop the agricultural sector of the country. Sluggish expenditure and lack of proper study and researches have affected the project implementation, the ministry mentioned.
The OAG has also pointed out that lack of proper monitoring is leading such projects towards failure.
A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.