KATHMANDU, July 29: Public entities have been barred to purchase furniture, computers, laptops, printers, and vehicles this year except for setting up new offices or when they could prove absolute necessity to replace the old ones, according to a recent directive issued by the Ministry of Finance regarding budget implementation.
The austerity policy is said to cut recurrent spending of the government that is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the directive, the offices should use available furniture and vehicles as far as possible. They may repair and maintain them as needed. In case of purchasing new furniture and equipment, public entities must sell those outdated goods and equipment through auction.
Officials of the Ministry of Finance have said that the directive is in line with the directives on Austerity and Expenditure Effectiveness 2075 issued recently by the cabinet.
Jhakka Prasad Acharya, spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said that government ministries and public entities can spend taxpayers’ money only based on the urgency of need.
“But new offices can purchase them for initial setup,” Acharya said. He informed that the government has not allocated budget to public offices for purchasing vehicles in the current fiscal year.
Soon after the current government took office, all the ministries had refurbished their offices and purchased new vehicles, in haste to spend the remaining funds in the last month of the last fiscal year (mid-June to mid-July).
The same government had also transferred a budget of over Rs 180 million for purchasing luxury vehicles for different ministries within the first four months of the current government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. National Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, and National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission among others were the recipients of such budget.
The former government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba had transferred budget to Election Commission Nepal for purchasing luxurious sports utility vehicles and to Nepal Army for purchasing helicopter, among others.
As per the new directive, public offices should refrain from renting properties in commercial centers and areas to operate their offices.
Likewise, public entities have to ensure optimum utilization of their human resources. They also need to discourage the tendency of outsourcing government works in the name of consultancy services, according to the directive. The public offices must use meeting rooms of government offices as far as possible to avoid renting meeting venue.