Govt announces to allocate funds only for the ready-to-go projects in the annual budget

Published On: February 27, 2024 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Ministry of Finance includes projects haphazardly in annual budget every year under political pressure

KATHMANDU, Feb 27: The government has announced to allocate necessary funds only for those projects that have properly carried out the preparatory work.

The upcoming budget will give priority in mobilization of public borrowing in such a way that will not affect the private sector’s investment. Presenting the Principles and Priorities of the Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2024/25 in parliament on Monday, Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said the government will take into consideration an improvement in the macroeconomic indicators related to both domestic and external sectors.

Mahat said there are overwhelming numbers of the projects under construction. “As long as the financial resources for these projects are not assured, the government will not start any new project,” he said.

At a time when the government is being criticized for poor capital expenditure, mainly due to the allocation of funds for projects with poor preparations, the government has expressed its commitment for discarding such projects from the priority lists in the budget for the next fiscal year. According to the records with the Financial Comptroller General Office, the government has spent only around 21 percent of the funds allocated for the development projects in the first seven months this year.

Analysts say the government could hardly implement its commitment which it had been making also in the past years. Due to the political pressures, the Ministry of Finance has been giving space for such projects in the eleventh hour of the budget preparation. In many cases, projects are kept in budget without ascertaining the source of funds.

Finance Minister Mahat said the government will be rendering priorities to promote domestic and foreign investment in hydropower, solar energy and other renewable energy sources, storage infrastructure for agricultural products, subsidies for local productions to enhance their competitiveness and to develop Nepal as an attractive destination for tourists. “The government will provide adequate funds for import substitutions, export promotion, energy, agriculture, tourism and information technology related projects,” he said.

The appropriation bill is a legislative document that grants legal approval for a government to spend public funds during a fiscal year. It outlines the detailed allocation of money to various government activities and programs, from operating expenses to major investments.

The government from this year has revised the calendar for the preparation of the annual budget. In this regard, the government has presented an appropriation bill three months prior to the actual date of the budget announcement.  


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