Rising graph

The Auditor General’s Annual Report-2064 BS was submitted to the Prime Minister a month ago. But the 44th report is yet to be presented in the interim parliament by the Speaker and made public. One newspaper report quotes Speaker SubashNembang as saying that he has not received the report as yet. This says something about how seriously the government has taken the report. The chief test of the utility of this report, which is a constitutional requirement, lies in its implementation. Every year, an assurance is given of acting on the recommendations contained in the report. Last year, too, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, while receiving the AG’s Annual Report, 2063 BS, spoke of taking immediate action to deal with the problems identified and carry out the suggestions made in the report, which put the magnitude of the accumulated government berujoo (the account heads or transactions showing non-compliance with financial rules and regulations) during 2062 BS at Rs.29.9 billion. This year, the amount has come down to Rs.26.19 billion. A fall has also been recorded in this year’s berujoo compared with that of last year (from Rs.14.46 billion to Rs.13.9 billion).

But even these slight decreases have been infrequent. The dominant pattern has been a rising graph of berujoo. This indicates, by and large, the lack of serious action for more than four decades to recover the government dues. This sad state of affairs emboldened people in positions of authority, both officials and politicians, to continue in their wrong ways with impunity. Last year, the AG had also recommended the formation of a high-level commission to investigate the losses of public enterprises (PEs), which, like the size of berujoo, have been steadily increasing. And like the berujoo, the losses of many PEs have already reached danger levels, calling for emergency rescue operations, which are yet to start in almost all cases. Despite popular movements for democracy and promises of good governance, things have improved little on this front, which is an important indicator of the degree of the soundness of financial administration of the government. The formation of commissions alone will not make things better, because we have already had too many of them. New commissions have become something of a substitute for procrastination. Therefore, the urgent need is for action, as most problems have already been identified.

Worryingly, even one and a half years after Jana Andolan II, financial discipline and booking

for financial irregularities have not improved significantly. It is a sad fact that action against

persons guilty of financial corruption and illegal acts is still largely dependent on the pleasure of those in power, not on the sound working of the system. A state of impunity reigns for officials who have demonstrated a criminal negligence of duty in enforcing financial discipline. s acting AG Bachchuram Dahal has said, the functioning of government offices is not transparent, fair and competitive. A new Nepal cannot be built without enforcing financial discipline strictly.