Defense Ministry alone forks out Rs 2.37 billion on COVID-19 pandemic
KATHMANDU, Aug 22: The government has already spent a total of 13.37 billion to combat coronavirus in the last five months.
According to expenditure figures as of mid August, the federal government has spent 4.81 billion in addition to separate expenditures made from the COVID Fund. From the COVID Fund, the federal government has spent Rs 1.37 billion. Minister for Finance and Communication and Information Technology, Yuba Raj Khatiwada, released the spending figures on Friday.
The Ministry of Defense is the agency that has made the highest expenditures of Rs 2.37 billion.
The Ministry of Health and Population received Rs 2.17 billion while the expenditures worth Rs 1.29 billion was made by the Ministry of Urban Development. Ministry of Home Affairs (Rs 208. 3 million), Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (Rs 44.9 million) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Rs 650,000) are other agencies that spend money on COVID-19.
In terms of expenditure headings, it was on health infrastructure where the government made the highest spending. According to the data, the government spent Rs 2.93 billion on health infrastructure, Rs 1.75 billion on medical goods, Rs 57.4 million on human resource mobilization, Rs 46.9 million on quarantines and Rs 12.4 million on others.
Provincial governments have spent a total of Rs 1.5 billion on fighting against coronavirus. Sudur Paschim province has spent the highest amount of money (Rs 429.8 million) while the spending of Bagmati province is the lowest of all (Rs 136.7 million).
Similarly, local governments have so far spent Rs 6.28 billion on COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Khatiwada, however, said that the net spending of three tiers of the government stand at 11.88 billion if the duplications on expenditures between provincial and local governments are factored in.
The government has released the spending figures amid concerns about possible misuse and irregularities of funds meant to fight COVID-19. There were calls for greater transparency of the government expenditures on COVID-19.