Infrastructure prioritized in local budgets

Published On: June 26, 2019 06:58 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 26: Local governments across the country have unveiled their annual budgets for the next fiscal year, their second budgets since they came into existence following the 2017 local elections. 

Most of the local governments have allocated a major portion of their budgets to local infrastructure development including roads, bridges, parks and hospitals. Kathmandu Metropolitan City has unveiled the biggest budget of Rs 15 billion, followed by Rs 7 billion by Pokhara and Rs 5 billion each by Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. 

Some local governments failed to table their budgets in the municipal assembly following differences among local representatives over the headquarters of the local units, the budget allotment areas and other issues. 

The budgets of the 753 local units come after the provincial assemblies presented their expenditure plans on June 16. The federal government, which presented its budget on May 29, announced expenditures totaling Rs 1.53 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year. The seven provincial governments have a cumulative budget of Rs 260 billion. 

These local units have announced plans to finance their budget expenditures mainly with the revenue they collect at the local levels, fiscal transfers from the provincial and federal governments and funds carried over from the current fiscal year 2018/19. 

Most of the local units have revised the house rent tax, vehicle charges and registration fees for business firms, and most of the cities have hiked vehicle parking charges. Local units have to endorse their budgets from the municipal assembly, a type of legislative body. 

Based on the formula laid down by the National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission, the federal government has allocated a total of Rs 89.95 billion in equalization grants and 123.87 billion under conditional grants. While there is no breakdown, local units and provincial governments will also be entitled to Rs 20 billion in matching and special grants. Similarly, provincial governments have also allocated funds for local units under fiscal transfers. 

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