Many civil servants unwilling to go to local levels

Kathmandu, January 4

Over five dozen government employees have informed the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development that they do not want to go to the local levels they have been deployed, because they fear that the newly elected representatives would compel them to breach procurement rules.

This shows that there is a misunderstanding between government employees and the newly elected representatives about their jurisdiction.

According to a high level source at the MoFALD, nearly five dozen civil servants are in the capital and some of them sent letters to MoFALD stating that they cannot join the local levels because of the adverse situation.

“Most of these employees, who have returned from the local levels where they were posted, complained that they fear that the newly elected representatives would force them to breach procurement rules,” the source said and added that some of the newly elected leaders in local levels were acting as if they had unfettered powers.

Twelve under secretaries and 11 section officers have cited other reasons for not going to the local levels they have been posted. The source said although some government employees cited other reasons, the real intent behind their decision to not go to the local levels where they have been posted, was to escape the situation where they could possibly be compelled by the leaders to breach procurement rules.

“They were unhappy with me when I tried to stop newly elected representatives from purchasing a machine worth Rs 4 million without issuing a tender notice,” a chief administrative officer of a municipally in western part of the country told THT on condition of anonymity.

The officer also said that the newly elected representatives lacked knowledge about the legal process of procurement. “I somehow managed to convince the mayor to follow the legal process, but ward chairs reacted, saying elected leaders were surrendering to the will of a government employee.”

According to another officer of MoFALD, some local levels refused to accept government employees because they believed that the employees deputed there would not do what they pleased.

“We had sent some officers to Rara Saya Municipality in Mugu in last September, but they were not allowed to sign the attendance book for two months and when they came back to the ministry, the municipality complained that they had no government employees to do administrative work,” the ministry source added.

Many District Coordination Committees have complained that the budget for district level office such as forest, veterinary, and health was given to the local levels without clear instruction and the local levels had spent the budget for other purposes.

“The newly elected representatives  seem to be unaware of the  constitutional provision that they cannot make any decision or formulate any law which contradicts federal and provincial laws,” another MoFALD officer said.

According to MOFALD Spokesperson Rudra Singh Tamang, the ministry had mandated the chief administrative officers to ensure the formulation of local rule and regulation without contradicting federal and provincial laws. “The Necha Rural Municipality of Solukhumbu has sent back the administrative chief — a section officer deployed by the ministry,” he said.

According to Tamang, inadequate infrastructure at the local centres is also adding to complications. “A total of 47 rural municipalities do not have access to road networks and a majority of local levels do not have internet access, which could pose hurdle in service delivery,” he added.