Budget for FY2018/19

Finance ministry getting fewer demands for funds for small projects

Published On: May 16, 2018 05:50 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Lawmakers lobbying hard for Constituency Development Fund

KATHMANDU, May 16: There has been a significant drop in demand for budget for petty projects.

But officials of the Ministry of Finance, which is currently preparing budget for the next fiscal year, said that they were getting pressure to allocate budge for projects selected by lawmakers.

The shift from the bad practice of demanding money for small projects from the central government became possible a year after the federal government handed over authorities to implement small projects to provincial and local governments.

This is a welcome development, as the federal government will no longer have to decide on small projects like renovation of a temple which can be handled by the local units.

However, the pressure for allocating separate budget of Rs 100 million (Constituency Development Fund) for each parliamentarian is immense, officials say. Parliamentarians are lobbying strongly to include Constituency Development Fund program in the upcoming budget.

Ministry officials say that Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada has been trying to avoiding meetings with lawmakers making such proposal.

Answering lawmakers' questions in the parliament on Tuesday, Khatiwada signaled that he will neither provide money for small projects nor provide budget for lawmakers to spend in projects picked by them.

The budget for the current fiscal year tabled in May last year delegated the authority to implement small projects to local units and provincial governments.

An aide to Khatiwada told Republica that though the ministry was receiving demands for small development projects, such demands are being forwarded to the concerned line ministries.

The aide, who is not authorized to talk to media, claimed that ministries are also not allowed to put such small projects in their annual programs.This means demand of budget for such small projects will not be entertained hereafter.

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