Nepal | November 21, 2019

EDITORIAL: Misuse of funds

The Himalayan Times

The lawmakers should be made accountable and it should be seen to it that all the transactions made are transparent and legal

Grants and subsidies provided by the government are on the rise since the last one decade. These are both recurrent and capital.

They have added to the financial burden to the impoverished state. It seems that the government will be spending extravagantly in the next fiscal year too using the taxpayers’ money.

This is because in all likelihood they would be promoting pork barrel politics which is nothing new in this country. The grants to be released for various electoral constituencies is going to be raised.

The government fears that by halting these programmes it would become unpopular and the ruling political parties would be losing their vote bank.

The present practice is to provide Rs. 2 million to each lawmaker under the Constituency Development Program and Rs. 15 million more to each electoral constituency under the Constituency Infrastructure Special Program.

However, these funding have little impact on the development endeavors as they are being misused by spending on small projects that only serve the vested interest of the lawmakers and also to ensure that their vote bank is secure.

We see rampant misappropriation of the funds such as them being allocated to programmes named after the political leaders and other noted personalities in the form of trusts, among other things.

These funds of such trusts fail to reach the people and a handful of selected people, especially leaders from various political parties, are found to be misusing the funds.

If the allocated funds fail to yield productive results there is no purpose in providing them for instead they would be increasing every year and eventually it would not be possible to finance them.

Although the government is aware of these developments it is all set to raise the allocations being made for the Constituency Development Programme and the Constituency Infrastructure Special Programme.

If implemented they would be adding to the spending to the tune of Rs. 4 billion for the state.

Meanwhile, considering the huge financing involved in the grants to the VDCs which is ever rising we find from audit reports of the Office of Auditor General that there is massive misuse of such funds.

Under the circumstances the demand by the parliamentarians to provide more funds for their constituencies is misplaced. The lawmakers should be made accountable and it should be seen to it that all the transactions made are transparent and legal.

It goes without saying that corruption is widely practiced in the country and the government activities should be closely monitored to see to it that this does not happen.

It is up to the parliamentarians to be on the lookout so that the government is not involved in unethical practices. On the other hand, lawmakers are required to carry out all activities abiding by the laws of the land.

That many of them are not doing so is indeed very disappointing, especially considering that the people have voted them to power, and they should be living up to their expectations for they are accountable to them.

We should realize that merely handing over funds to the lawmakers is not sufficient to help development and the building of infrastructures for which the government should own up.


Avoid INGOs

It is commonplace that almost all the parliamentary committees conduct their programmes at lavish hotels and resorts with financial and technical supports from various INGOs which often try to influence the lawmakers and policymakers on issues they want to push through Parliament.

A number of INGOs were found to be very active in organizing various seminars on complex constitutional issues, including the forms of governance, federal structure, inclusion and secularism, the most vetted issue of all, during the first CA.

It was also found that over a dozen CA members were flown to Mustang given them an orientation on political issues.

Such practice will not augur well for developing independent perspectives on a number of national issues. It is the lawmakers and policymakers who are easily influenced by INGOs’ agendas that may be detrimental to the national interest and the people.

The parliamentary Good Governance and Monitoring Committee has rightly taken up this issue seriously as it has objected to holding functions under INGO funding.

The lawmakers must understand that they need to take cognizance of what they have to say and should not be carried away by their agendas.


A version of this article appears in print on May 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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