KATHMANDU, June 12: The sub-national governments have failed to enjoy autonomy even in four years of the implementation of the federal system, mainly due to the mindset of the central government to maintain a grip on the sub-national governments and poor financial management, according to the experts and stakeholders.
Ashok Byanju, mayor of Dhulikhel Municipality, said the central government is still skeptical on financial matters with the local governments. “While most of the local governments have been utilizing more than 90 percent of the allocated capital expenditure and the central government’s performance is pathetic in the segment almost every year, the local governments are often questioned for their working efficiencies,” said Byanju at a program on Friday.
Byanju expressed his skepticism over effective implementation of the annual budget this year. According to him, the budget has squeezed the revenue mobilization capacity of local governments by around 20 percent. “On the other hand, the central government has been delaying settling its liabilities even in matters like paying salaries to the school teachers on time,” he said.
The stakeholders said the local governments have been able to work effectively in minimizing the spread of the second wave of the pandemic in particular although the National Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction has not clearly defined the working area of the local governments in the ongoing pandemic.
Hom Narayan Shrestha, chairman of National Association of Rural Municipalities, said they have managed to run a notable number of isolation centers and swab testing despite the lack of the central government’s promptness for their institutional capacity development. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the funds allocated in four types of grants by the budget this year.
“Local bodies are still under the large control of the central government due to the lack of conceptual clarity and policy framework,” said Krishna Gyawali, an expert. According to him, there are problems in executive mandate than in legal mandate due to which the sub-national governments are facing a shortfall of resources to implement rights and responsibilities assigned to them.
Gyawali said poor personal integrity of executives at local level and lack of accountability assumed by them has also created problems in many cases to coordinate with the community based institutions and local people.