Tourism minister unhappy with low expenditure

Kathmandu, December 21

Due to lack of proper implementation capacity among concerned officials, the expenditure of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has remained abysmally low in the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal year.

According to the MoCTCA report, the ministry and its line agencies have been able to spend only 9.17 per cent of the total budget of Rs 23.40 billion allocated as capital expenditure for the current fiscal. However, it has spent 69.69 per cent of its

financial expenditure.

In the first quarterly review meeting organised by the ministry today, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, stated that the spending capacity of the line agencies needs to be enhanced. “As per our plan, the current expenditure is very low and I would like to direct all the responsible authorities to put in more effort for the proper utilisation of allotted budget.”

The ministry had selected 15 special development projects and 14 other projects for development in this fiscal and allocated a budget of Rs 6.34 billion for the first quarter.

In the review meeting of the ministry-level Development Problem Solution Committee today, Adhikari directed all concerned staffers to develop effective monitoring system for effective and timely results. “The concerned office heads have the sole responsibility to implement the assigned works and are accountable for the job,” he added.

Meanwhile, among the five national pride projects under the ministry, works related to the Gautam Buddha International Airport, Pashupati Area Development Trust, Lumbini Development Trust and Pokhara Regional International Airport have been satisfactory but works related to the Nijgadh International Airport have been very slow due to deforestation issues.

According to Minister Adhikari, the government has plans whereby it wants the tourism sector to contribute a minimum of 10 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 by bringing in two million tourists. As per government data, the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP stands at only 2.6 per cent.

Speaking at the meeting, member of the National Planning Commission Ramkumar Phuyal, stressed on the need to develop proper infrastructure if the country wants to bring two million tourists by 2020. “We need to develop tourism infrastructure and organise promotion programmes and also significantly increase our capital expenditure.”

Also speaking at the meeting, Executive Chairman of Nepal Airlines Corporation Madan Kharel, assured that the national flag carrier would fly its wide-body aircraft to Japan from March and to South Korea after that.