Provinces spend less than 5pc of allocated budget
Kathmandu, October 28
Provincial governments have been slower than the federal government in spending the allocated budget in the first quarter of this fiscal.
As per the Financial Comptroller General Office, provinces have spent 0.62 per cent of the budget which is the lowest to a maximum of 4.27 per cent of their total budget presented for fiscal 2018-19.
In comparison, expenses of the federal government in the review period stood at 15 per cent of the total budget, as per FCGO.
Provincial governments presented ambitious budget for this fiscal, but the expense of the first quarter shows they sorely lack implementation capacity.
First quarter expenditure
Karnali Province spent the lowest, a mere 0.62 per cent of the annual budget worth Rs 28.282 billion in the first quarter, whereas Province 3 spent the highest among all seven provincial governments — 4.27 per cent of the annual budget of Rs 35.61 billion.
Kewal Prasad Bhandari, secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning, said expenditure of provincial governments in the first quarter was mainly regular administrative expenses, grants transferred to local bodies and expenses on preparation of bidding documents and study of development projects.
In terms of budget expenses in the first quarter, Province 5 stood second with expenditure of 2.42 per cent of the annual budget worth Rs 28.9 billion followed by Province 1 with 1.5 per cent of the annual budget of Rs 35.9 billion, as per FCGO.
Likewise, Province 7 and Gandaki Province (Province 4) have spent 1.44 per cent and 1.17 per cent of the annual budget worth Rs 25.6 billion and Rs 24 billion, respectively. Similarly, Province 2 has spent Rs 247.59 million or 0.83 per cent of the allocated budget worth Rs 29.78 billion.
Nirmal Hari Adhikari, chief of the budget division of the Ministry of Finance, said that the provinces must raise expenses to avail the equalisation grant earmarked in the fiscal budget.
The federal government transfers the equalisation grants to subnational governments on the basis of expenses in every quarter following the transfer of one-fourth of the grant at the beginning of the fiscal, as per Adhikari.