January 18: The implementation of the Prime Minister's Employment Programme (PMEP) launched by the former government led by KP Sharma Oli has been pathetic. The execution of the programme has now become uncertain after the new coalition government took charge of the nation.
Danduraj Ghimire, National Program Director of the Prime Minister's Employment Programme and Joint Secretary at the Labour Ministry, said that out of the 750,000 people registered in the employment center in the current fiscal year, only 6,000 got employment so far. According to him, employees have been paid for 100 days of work at Rs 577 per day.
Joint Secretary Ghimire said that the delay in the amendment of the regulations affected the implementation of the programme in the current fiscal year. He said that the execution of the Prime Minister's Employment Programme Operation Directive (Second Amendment) -2078 BS has been approved by the Council of Ministers.
The wage rate is the same in mountains, hills and the plains, which is not practical.
"Everywhere the same wage rate does not seem practical, so by amending the directive, the local wage rate has been fixed at Rs 577,” said Joint Secretary Ghimire.
Among those registered for the employment, individuals listed as poor and extremely poor have been employed by the government. Ghimire claims that 176,000 people got employment last year.
The government had given continuity to this programme in the budget of the current fiscal year by allocating Rs 12 billion to provide employment to 200,000 people for 100 days. However, only Rs 346.2 million has been spent so far, according to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Employment Programme.
Donors have been supporting this program since last year. The World Bank has agreed to provide a concessional loan of Rs 14 billion to support this programme.
The World Bank had provided a loan of Rs 7 billion in the current fiscal year while the government had allocated Rs 5 billion in the budget.
The lack of budget expenditure under this programme for six months of the current fiscal year has raised fears that the fund might be misused. Past experiences have shown that the effectiveness of such programme is weak and this programme has been much criticized.
In the first six months of the current Fiscal Year 2078/79, the programme has not been implemented properly. However, funds have been sent to the local level for the implementation of the programme through budget transfer.
The government has made arrangements to use the budget only for programmes such as road construction, maintenance of buildings, river control, irrigation, and tree planting which are being operated at the local level. However, there has been a tendency to spend the budget allocated for this programme even for other general works.