• MID-TERM BUDGET REVIEW
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 24
Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel has expressed dissatisfaction over the sluggish pace of development budget expenditure in the first six months of the current fiscal year (mid-July to mid-January).
Speaking during the midterm budget review programme, Finance Minister Paudel said that capital spending has remained low due to lack of initiative by the concerned ministries and bodies.
Out of the development budget allocation of Rs 352.91 billion for the current fiscal year, only Rs 50.82 billion or just 14.40 per cent has been spent till mid-January.
Even more worryingly, the capital expenditure was 19.60 [er cent lower compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
Similarly, recurrent expenditure during the review period stood at Rs 342.36 billion or 36.08 per cent. It was, meanwhile, 10.56 per cent higher compared to the same period of last fiscal year.
In the review programme, Finance Minister Paudel expressed frustration at the dismal report 'even though the Ministry of Finance has been facilitating and holding discussions to increase capital expenditure along with development works by adopting health security measures during the COV- ID-19 pandemic'.
Stating that the main reason for lack of improvement in capital spending is due to concerned authorities not taking the initiative to solve the existing problems, he said that there should be discussion and coordination between the concerned bodies and line ministries to increase capital expenditure.
'Let's fulfil our responsibilities by being accountable.
Finance ministry is always ready to provide assistance and facilitation," said Finance Minister Paudel.
He further cited non-budgetary demands during the budget implementation, seeking release of emergency funds, negligence in implementation of financial procedures and flouting financial accountability law as the other prime reasons for slow capital expenditure.
Similarly, not paying enough attention to budget allocation, and reluctance to mobilise foreign aid are some of the other reasons, he said.
Revenue Secretary Ram Sharan Pudasaini emphasised on the need to accelerate capital spending as it is also linked to job creation.
In the programme, other government secretaries expressed the view that the working procedure should be prepared and implemented at the ministry level, the ceiling of multi-year contracts should not be the same, and resources should be released quickly.
A version of this article appears in print on January 25, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.