January 15: Progress of development works in the first six months of the current fiscal year has been below par due to the failure of the government to expedite various projects.
The current government, which was formed three years ago, has been engaged more in internal dispute rather than achieving its target of “Prosperous Nepal Happy Nepali”. The impact of internal rift within the ruling Nepal Communist Party has been clearly reflected by the lacklustre progress of development works.
The ruling party is divided into two factions and the House of Representatives has been dissolved in the six months since the announcement of budget for the current fiscal year. As a result, the government has been able to spend only Rs 50.81 billion capital expenditure during the review period out of Rs 352 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.
According to the Financial Comptroller General Office, the government has been able to spend only 15 percent of the total capital expenditure allocated for the current fiscal year. The government had estimated to spend more than 18 percent of the development budget.
Capital expenditure during the corresponding period of last fiscal year was 16 percent. This year’s capital expenditure is even worse than that of last year. Data kept by the Financial Comptroller General Office show that the current expenditure of the government has unexpectedly increased.
The current expenditure of the government during the review period is Rs 342 billion out of the total allocated amount of Rs 948 billion. This is 37 percent of the total budget allocated for current expenditure.
Stakeholders say that the poor capital expenditure is a result of the government’s failure to resolve the policy-level hurdles faced by the construction sector and its inability to prepare a work plan for expediting the projects.
According to Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Jagdish Chandra Pokharel, the current government had a golden opportunity to expedite development works but it failed to do so due to the internal conflict within the ruling party.
He further said that the government is bent toward adding more financial burden to the state coffers under various pretexts while it has not done anything substantial in the last six months to speed up development works. Pokharel opined that the government’s attention has been drawn to something else other than people’s aspirations.
Economist Keshav Acharya also blames the government leadership and different bodies for the slow pace of development in six months of current fiscal year.
According to Acharya, the government has not paid attention towards finding the reasons for its failure to spend development budget and to take timely action.