In addition, the government has maintained a large amount of money in contingency and miscellaneous headings that could be spent in unproductive areas
KATHMANDU, June 3: The government has earmarked Rs 1.76 billion to purchase vehicles in the next fiscal year. The amount is twice the amount allocated under the heading in the budget of the current fiscal year.
The ordinance-based full budget introduced by the caretaker government is found to have allocated the hefty amount in an unproductive investment at a time when the state is struggling to manage sufficient funds to spend on the health care and coronavirus vaccine. Of the estimated expenses worth Rs 1.64 trillion for 2021/22, the government has planned to take foreign loans of Rs 309.29 billion and domestic loans of Rs 250 billion to finance the expenditure.
In the budget of 2020/21, the government had separated Rs 884 million to purchase vehicles. However, the government has already spent 906.3 million, which is Rs 22.30 million more than the allocated funds.
According to officials, government bodies look for purchasing new vehicles in a desire to earn more money through commissions. Almost every year, the government spends a hefty amount on unproductive purchases, shows the annual reports of the Office of Auditor General (OAG).
The 56th report of the OAG shows that only 622 vehicles out of the total 800 four-wheelers under 22 ministries in Singha Durbar are operational, while many government offices just look for purchasing new vehicles rather than using the old ones.
Similarly, the 57th OAG report shows in the fiscal year 2018/19, the federal government spent Rs 5.86 billion on the purchase of vehicles, more than 406 percent of the real amount that was allocated in the budget. Apart from announcing directly through the budget, the government is found disbursing the funds by transferring funds from other headings and utilizing contingency funds to purchase new vehicles.
The government in the budget for the next year has allocated Rs 36.64 billion for contingency purposes. The amount is around 36 times more than the amount of Rs 990 million earmarked under the heading for this year. It shows that the government might have more flexibility to draw more money for unproductive spending this year, said the officials.
Likewise, the government has increased the budget under ‘miscellaneous’ heading from Rs 4.10 billion to Rs 40.22 billion. For the maintenance of vehicles, the government has allocated Rs 5.37 billion, which is Rs 600 million more than that of the current fiscal year.