Govt hides cabinet decisions

Published On: July 9, 2018 06:52 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

KATHMANDU, July 9: “Good governance” and “transparency” are two catchphrases used by Prime Minister KP Oli in almost all his public speeches. But when it comes to implementing these promises, his government appears a big defaulter.

The law has it that the government should make public the decisions of the cabinet meetings after 48 hours of each meeting. However, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has stopped making public the cabinet decisions on time for the last two months.  

The last time the OPMCM uploaded cabinet decisions on its website was on May 30, 2018. Since then, Prime Minister Oli has summoned cabinet meetings several times, but his office is yet to make public the decisions made by those meetings.  

Although the government spokesperson briefs the media about the decisions taken by each cabinet meeting, the briefings only include the decisions that build a “positive” image of the government. However, all decisions that are deemed controversial are not revealed. 

It may be recalled that Prime Minister Oli, shortly after assuming his office, was quick to publicize the decisions made not just by his cabinet but also by the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government. After his office made public the decisions of the erstwhile government, it was discovered that Deuba had only announced to increase the housing grant for earthquake victims but no formal decision was made to that effect.

The government’s indifference to publicizing cabinet decisions on time has raised questions about its commitment to transparency and good governance. This has equally given rise to the suspicion that it may have taken several controversial decisions other than those made public by the government’s spokesperson following each cabinet meeting. 

Information Commissioner at the National Information Commission, Kiran Kumar Pokharel said it is the responsibility of the government, which has made good governance and transparency as its main slogan, to release the cabinet decisions in matters of public interests in a timely manner and become transparent itself first. “The failure of the government to reveal its decisions on time is against the spirit of the Right to Information Act,” he added. 

Press Advisor to the Prime Minister, Kundan Aryal, however, said the OPMCM hasn’t been able to upload the cabinet decisions on its website recently due to some technical reasons. “There is no other intention behind not making the cabinet decisions public. The decisions have not been uploaded entirely due to time constraint. We will upload all the decisions made so far and make them public,” he said.  

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