Nepal | July 13, 2020

Three ministries yet to submit project roll-out plan to NPC

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, July 26

Three government ministries that have been allotted 26 per cent of the capital budget of this fiscal year are yet to forward their annual project implementation plans to the National Planning Commission (NPC) for approval.

This delay has once again raised doubts over improvement in capital expenditure in this fiscal year when budget was launched early to give impetus to spending, especially capital spending, which has always remained low in the country.

“We’d asked all ministries to submit their project implementation plans right after the start of new fiscal year. But three ministries have not submitted a single plan even after 11 days into the new fiscal,” NPC Officiating Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali told The Himalayan Times.

Government ministries must forward Priority One (P1) project implementation plans to NPC, apex body that frames country’s development plans and policies, before implementing them.

The three bodies that are yet to submit these plans are: Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), Ministry of Energy (MoE) and Ministry of Education (MoEdu).

Of these ministries, MoPIT, which oversees development of crucial physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and railway lines, is implementing 63 P1 projects in the current fiscal year. This ministry has been allotted a capital budget of Rs 72.7 billion for this fiscal year, or 23 per cent of the total capital budget of Rs 311.9 billion. This share is the largest among all the ministries, except for the National Reconstruction Authority which has been allotted capital budget of Rs 82.2 billion.

MoPIT Spokesperson Devendra Karki claimed the plans have already been submitted. But Mainali said he has yet to receive them.

Also, the MoE, which oversees implementation of hydroelectric projects and power transmission lines, has not submitted a single project implementation plan. The ministry is implementing 27 P1 projects and has been allotted a capital budget of Rs 8.1 billion for this fiscal year. The MoEdu, on the other hand, is implementing six P1 projects and has been allotted a capital budget of Rs 226.4 million.

NPC officials were expecting ministries to submit project implementation plans early this fiscal year because budget of 2016-17 was launched one-and-a-half months prior to the commencement of the new fiscal year.

Also, use of Line Ministry Budgetary Information System (LMBIS) to submit budget proposals was expected to expedite development programme submission process.

The LMBIS is a software launched by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in fiscal year 2014-15 which must be used by all ministries to submit project plans at the time when the MoF starts framing budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

These submissions must be made based on agreement reached during tripartite meeting between the NPC, the MoF and the line ministry. This means line ministries these days know which programmes and projects are going to be incorporated in the budget well before the formal launch of the budget.

Because of this, many officials have been arguing that the practice of seeking NPC’s permission right after the start of the fiscal year should be discontinued, as projects receive approval of the NPC and the MoF during budget formulation process.

Acknowledging there should not be duplication in project approval process, the MoF even tried to put an end to this practice last fiscal year, but couldn’t.

This was because of provisions in the Financial Procedures Rules that have made it mandatory for line ministries to seek NPC’s approval prior to rolling out projects.

The Rule says: “The (concerned) ministry shall seek advice of the NPC as to whether the proposed project is in consonance with the objective of national development, sectoral working policy and whether it is included in the approved periodical plan or not.”

“In spite of this (duplication), why some ministries are delaying submission of project implementation plans is surprising, because all they have to do is send plans that they submitted using the LMBIS,” Mainali said.


A version of this article appears in print on July 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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