Speed up capital spending: PM Oli

Kathmandu, April 30

Displeased with the dismal performance in capital expenditure this fiscal year, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today directed all ministries to speed up spending of the development budget effectively.

During a review meeting with all the government secretaries regarding progress in capital spending for the fiscal year 2015-16, he directed them to use at least 80 percent of the development budget by mid-July.

“The prime minister took stock of the progress made so far on capital expenditure and directed all the concerned ministries to speed up works and utilise the capital in an effective manner within the remaining two-and-half months of this fiscal,” said Binod Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson of the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.

The secretaries had apprised the PM that only 28 per cent of development budget had been used in the past 10 months of this fiscal.

The prime minister sought to know the reasons behind such dismal performance in spending capital.

Many secretaries attributed it to the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015 and the border blockade following the promulgation of the new constitution in September as reasons behind sluggish performance in spending the development budget, said a secretary, who was present at the meeting.

Many secretaries assured the prime minister that use of 80 to 85 per cent of capital expenditure was still possible if the works move ahead as planned. They had claimed that capital spending was relatively low as many projects were on the verge of completion and their payments were yet to be adjusted.

According to Spokesperson Kunwar, Oli also asked the secretaries to carry out reconstruction works effectively and directed them to ensure some visible changes in the reconstruction front by mid-July, the end of this fiscal. He also sought the views of senior bureaucrats regarding the policy and programmmes of the government for next fiscal.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, former chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal said that it’s almost impossible to achieve 80 per cent capital expenditure within the next two-and-half months through spending on development projects.

He, however, argued that the expenditure ratio could dramatically soar if the government disbursed the private housing subsidy to those whose residences collapsed or were damaged by last year’s quake.

The government has plans to provide Rs 200,000 as private housing subsidy to each family. But it has not given even the first of four instalments of this support to the victims.