Public entities to be held liable for project implementation delay

Monitoring and Evaluation Bill draft proposes reward for outstanding projects, officials

Kathmandu, March 22

Public entities in Nepal will soon be held liable for losses emanating from delay in implementation of development plans, policies, projects and programmes if a bill drafted by the government is signed into law.

The draft of the Monitoring and Evaluation Bill prepared by the National Planning Commission has basically taken a carrot and stick approach towards ensuring timely implementation of development projects and programmes, which is expected to accelerate the pace of capital spending and help the country attain higher economic growth rates.

The draft bill, a copy of which has been obtained by The Himalayan Times, says if implementation of development plans, policies, projects and programmes suffers due to delay in timely monitoring and evaluation, the concerned public entity will be held accountable.

On the other hand, the draft bill also proposes to reward outstanding projects and officials.

The draft bill has been forwarded to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Once the OPMCM reviews and approves the document, it will be sent to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, before being tabled in Parliament.

The NPC had started working on the bill, as government entities and officials failed to take ownership of the works they were given, which often delayed implementation of development projects and programmes.

This recklessness, on the one hand, has often raised project cost and, on the other, affected capital spending in a country with huge infrastructure gap.

To deal with these problems, the draft bill proposes to form committees at central, state and local levels to monitor and evaluate impact and performance of development plans, policies, projects and programmes at regular intervals.

The draft bill also paves the way for public entities to outsource these works or rely on other third parties to perform these tasks.

To execute these tasks in a proper and effective manner, public entities should create indicators and a three-year monitoring and evaluation plan, which should be reviewed every year.

Government entities, such as the OPMCM, the NPC, the Ministry of Finance, the National Vigilance Centre and various regional and local bodies, are involved in monitoring and evaluation of state-supported projects.

But these entities largely conduct monitoring and evaluation based on budget utilised by projects after they have been rolled out.

The latest draft Bill says works related to monitoring and evaluation should begin prior to implementation of projects and programmes.

In the pre-project implementation phase, cost-benefit analysis needs to be conducted, says the draft Bill. Also, rationale behind launching the project needs to be justified at pre-implementation phase.

During the implementation phase, the implementing agency or a third-party should evaluate the work in progress and effectiveness with which projects and programmes are being rolled out.

After the completion of the project, sustainability of projects and programmes, and their impact on environment need to be gauged.

Also, impact of projects and programmes on people’s lives, societies and socio-economic environment should be assessed on a periodic basis, adds the draft bill.

The findings of the monitoring and evaluation works, as per the draft bill, must be made public within a month of obtaining them. These reports should then be forwarded to concerned agencies.

If concerned entities or officials fail to submit the reports on time or make attempts to manipulate data and information, they will come under the scrutiny of the National Development Action Committee.