Govt hiding budget transfer details since February

Published On: July 10, 2018 09:20 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, July 9: The government has not made public any information about budget transfer that it made since it came to power in February. 

The transfer, which is done to pay bills by changing allocation titles in the budget approved by the parliament, has not been made public, indicating that the government is not transparent in terms of managing taxpayer’s money. This also has questioned rationale of such spending.

The last such budget transfer details made public on the website of Ministry of Finance date backs to Nepali month of Falgun (mid-February). 

Bill payments of both recurrent and capital spending have soared unnaturally in recent weeks. The government paid a whopping Rs 10 billion in recurrent spending in a single day on Friday. Both opposition parties and economists have raised question on the rationale of such a huge payment. Similarly, capital spending has also jumped multifold in the recent weeks. Such spending was Rs 7 billion Friday, compared to about half a billion rupees per day few weeks before.

Talking to Republica, former finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that the government’s reluctance to make public budget transfer and spending details has put doubt on government expenditure. This suggests that the government is not managing taxpayers’ money in a transparent manner, he alleged.

“Some budget transfers can be genuine like footing bills of projects which have completed additional works and are ahead of the schedule,” said Mahat, demanding that the government give details of such spending. 
He also said that the rise in recurrent spending was alarming and that it must be corrected.

The previous government was regularly making public budget transfer details. Media reported about budget transfers for procurement of luxury SUVs for election commissioners and purchase of helicopters by Nepal Army at the beginning of the current fiscal year. The previous government also made budget transfer to pay for expenses of third phase of local level election, and election of provincial and federal parliaments.
Unveiling budget for Fiscal Year 2018/19, Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada had pledged to follow fiscal and budgetary disciplines. However, rise in recurrent spending at the eleventh hour has drawn criticism from different quarters. 

Meanwhile, Nirmal Hari Adhikari, chief of Budget Division at the finance ministry, expressed commitment to make budget transfer details public immediately. “Such stuffs are handled by IT officer. I will instruct them to publish the details on our website by Tuesday,” he added.

Rs 11 billion spent on Sunday

KATHMANDU (REPUBLICA): Government spending totaled a whopping Rs 11 billion on Sunday.
According to Financial Comptroller General Office, the government disbursed Rs 4.5 billion each on recurrent spending and capital spending. Another Rs 2 billion was spent on financial management. But the details of this spending are not available. 

Daily recurrent spending of the government was hovering around Rs 1 to 1.5 billion until three weeks. It has soared to Rs 4-5 billion since last week.

Concentration of budget spending toward the end of fiscal year is not a new trend in Nepal though. It became chronic after 2006 when the country entered political transition phase as governments were changed almost every year and people in the government as well as bureaucracy did not have long-term priorities. 

Recurrent spending is soaring in recent days, while capital spending has remained at around only 65 percent of the target.

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