Govt set to ink Rs 23 bn donor grant deal for civil service training

Published On: October 3, 2018 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 3: Amid criticism from various quarters that donors were pouring money into 'unproductive' activities like advocacy, training and exposure visits, the government is currently negotiating a deal with 14 various donor agencies for Rs 23 billion in grants for the capacity development of civil servants at the local level, it is learnt.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA) plans to spend the money within four years on the capacity enhancement of civil servants at the 753 local units.

According to MoFAGA, altogether 17,905 civil servants are currently assigned to the local units. The ministry estimates that at least 58,000 more are required if the local units are to become full-fledged, said Dinesh Thapaliya, secretary at the ministry.

In his briefing to parliament's State Affairs Committee (SAC), Secretary Thapaliya said local units are still 40,000 civil servants short .

“Government is planning to spend the Rs 23 billion on capacity enhancement and training for civil servants at the local units over the next four years. We have chosen 14 donor agencies for the purpose but we are yet to sign the official agreement,” he said.

Thapaliya informed that the funds will be used through the provincial governments instead of the local units themselves or the federal government.

The ministry plans to classify the local units into 10 categories based on population, revenue, infrastructure and geographical region. At least three officers including an education officer, an engineer and a chief executive shall be deployed even at the smallest local unit, Thapaliya said.

MoFAGA officials informed the parliamentary committee that the government had failed to transfer civil servants to the remote areas and to the local units in Province 2. “Most of the civil servants transferred to local units in Province 2 were either sent back by the local units or ran into complaints of failure to perform,” he said .

Officials claimed that the government had failed to transfer civil servants to the local and provincial governments due to prolonged delay in the passage of the Federal Civil Servants Bill. The government plans to adjust the civil servants at the three tiers of government by January.

Earlier, the cabinet had approved 45,858 civil service positions for the central level including for the courts, the foreign ministry and the attorney general's office; 21,399 for the provinces; and 58,000 for local level governments. But Secretary Thapaliya estimates that about 28,000 civil servants will be enough for the center.

Lawmakers had criticized the ministry for showing only on paper the number of civil servants assigned to local units. They also accused the government of failing to curb corruption and irregularities at the local governments.

Ruling Nepal Communist Party lawmaker Nawaraj Silwal claimed that corruption was rampant in the bureaucracy due to lack of vigilance. Main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) lawmaker Amaresh Singh accused the government of using up the budget on training and seminars at hotels.

NC lawmaker Binod Chaudhary criticized civil servants for failing to deliver as per the investment made in them by the state.

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