Internal feud and lack of manpower blamed for the delay
KATHMANDU, July 1: The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) had made it mandatory for local units across the country to unveil the budget before June 25. However, around 118 local units are yet to do so despite missing their deadline. The dispute between local representatives, lack of manpower and coordination between the officials have been learnt to be the major reasons behind the delay.
Altogether 43 local units of Province 2; 16 local units of Province 1; 15 in Province 3; five in Gandaki Province; 12 in Province 5; 25 in Karnali Province; and two local units of Sudurpaschim Province have not announced their budget until Sunday.
In Province 1, 16 local units missed the deadline for budget announcement citing various reasons. Some had not made enough preparations while many postponed the date due to internal feuds.
Pradip Rai, chairperson of Khotehang Rural Municipality, says there isn’t enough staffers to help select programs and formulate policies. The chairperson of Rawabesi Rural Municipality said, "We had informed all the wards regarding the deadline but still some of them could not send the list of programs on time. This delayed our program." Rawabesi is planning to publicize its budget on July 1.
Similarly, there are altogether 18 local units in Province 2 including nine municipalities and nine rural municipalities which are yet to announce the budget. Apart from Dakneshwari Municipality and Krishnasabarna Rural Municipality, all the other local units of Saptari are yet to unveil their budget. Sadly, none of those local units have intensified their preparations for tabling the budget despite missing the deadline.
The dispute within the representatives as well as their involvement in the development activities to prevent the freezing of the budget is the major reasons behind the setback. Altogether seven local units of Siraha are still to endorse their budget for the fiscal year 2019/20. It has been around a week since the locals of Kalyanpur Municipality have padlocked the municipal office demanding transparency in budget allocation.
Likewise, seven local units in Dhanusha failed to publicize their budget in the given time frame, according to Deepak Jha, vice-chairperson of the District Coordination Committee (DCC). Even though, it has been claimed that all necessary preparations have been made for the budget announcement of Kamala and Sabaila municipalities, internal feud between the representatives has obstructed the municipal assemblies.
"In most of the local units, the tussle between the representatives has caused the delay in budget announcement," said DCC chief Jha. Meanwhile, most of the local units of Mahottari have managed to unveil the budget within the deadline while some are underway.
In Province 3, altogether 15 local units of five districts are yet to unveil the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It has been a daunting task for the local representatives to select programs and formulate policies. Six local units of Kavre, five of Dhading, two in Sindhupalchowk, and one each of Bhaktapur and Sindhuli have postponed the date for budget announcement due to various reasons.
Galchi Rural Municipality of Dhading could not table its budget due to the absence of the municipal chief who is currently in the USA due to personal reasons. "We could not publicize the budget on given time as our chairperson is currently out of the country," said Radha Timalsina, vice-chairperson of Galchi.
In Gandaki Province, most of the local units managed to reveal their budget for the upcoming fiscal year within the given timeframe but some missed the deadline. Three local units of Gorkha, are yet to unveil their budget but have assured to do so within a few days.
Those local units, which missed the deadline, were instructed to give their explanations behind the delay within two days by the MoFAGA. This compelled the local units to intensify their work at the eleventh hour.
Similarly, the dispute between the mayor and deputy mayor of Beni Municipality of Myagdi has been learnt to be reason behind the delay in the tabling of the budget. Mayor Hari Kumar Shrestha accused deputy mayor and majority of members of being responsible for the delay in the announcement of budget. The dispute between the executives has become so serious that it has irked the locals. Efforts are underway to bring the two under agreement and unveil the budget as soon as possible.
In Province 5, the tussle between the mayor and deputy mayor in a dozen local units delayed the budget announcement. The clash of opinions and vested interest of representatives became an obstruction in municipal assemblies hence affecting the budget announcement. Seven local units of Kapilvastu alone did not reveal their budget. The absence of Deputy Mayor Laxmi Kasodhan in the municipal assembly on June 25 delayed the presentation of budget. Differences in opinion have repeatedly postponed the municipal assembly of Pyuthan Municipality.
The mountainous district of Mugu in Karnali Province has four local units. However, none of those were able to unveil their budget on the given deadline. The municipal assembly of Chayanath Rara Municipality could not happen due to the protest of chiefs of all 14 wards. They staged protest demanding transparency in budget. "The municipality has been allocating budget without consulting with us and have been prioritizing least important programs," said Lok Bahadur Hitang, chief of Chayanath-1. It is still uncertain when the remaining 25 local units of Karnali Province will announce their budget.
Only two locals units of Sudurpaschim failed to table the budget before June 25. Patan Municipality and Purchaudi Municipality of Baitadi missed the deadline for budget announcement. Narendra Thapa, chief of Dhasrath Chand Municipality says they could not table the budget earlier as they were not prepared but they finally did it on Sunday. Patan has already endorsed its programs and policies but will be announcing the budget later. Meanwhile, Purchaudi has announced to reveal its budget at least after a week.
(With inputs from our district reporters; Suresh Yadav/Janakpur, Daman Rai/Khotang, Rekha Bhusal/Butwal, Sarita Shrestha/Dhading, Narahari Sapkota/Gorkha, Chhavi Lal Tiwari/Parbat, Hari Krishna Gautam/Myagdi, Suman Malla/Mugu, Janak Shahi/Humla, Lokendra Khanal/Rukum, and Bira Gadal/Baitadi)