KATHMANDU, July 1: None of the local units elected in the first phase of the local level elections have started preparing budget for Fiscal Year 2017/18.
According to a seven-stop guideline prepared by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), the local units should have started budget preparation process from June 24. The deadline to present the income and expenditure details for the next fiscal year in their respective councils is July 9.
Delay in tabling of budget in the council is likely to hit spending from July 16 when the new fiscal year begins.
“None of the local units have started preparing budget. It might be because there is some confusion amongst representatives in local units,” Rudra Singh Tamang, the spokesperson for MoFALD, said. “Delay in the budget making process by the local units is likely to affect their spending.”
There is no provision for advance payment for local units like central government. The central government can do so by getting Advance Expenditure Bill approved in the parliament.
Considering the delay, MoFALD has started orientation for deputy mayors, chief executive officials and accounts officers from Friday. It will conduct such orientations in all three provinces which has already got local level units by Tuesday.
Deputy mayors and vice chairpersons are the coordinator of budget and planning works in local units.
All mayors and chairman of local bodies of Kathmandu valley participated in the orientation on Friday.
“We started orientation from Friday for the local leaders and officials to start budget making process immediately so that they can table the budget at the earliest and get it endorsed by the third week of July,” added Tamang.
After attending the orientation, Deputy Mayor of Shankharapur Municipality, Shukra Laxmi Shrestha, expressed commitment to speed up budget-making process and table the budget by July 9. “We will put focus on budget preparation as we cannot spend funds unless our income and expenditure plan is endorsed by the municipal council,” Shrestha added.
According to the 7-step budget preparation guideline prepared by the MoFALD, the new leadership of local units will have to table income and expenditure plan in their respective council meeting on July 9.
This is the first time that the government has implemented fiscal transfer to local units by holding election for local units after a hiatus of two decades.
As per the guidelines, settlements in local units will have to select project. They will have to finalize the plans and recommend them to the local unit. A committee that devises plans and programs will integrate all the plans and programs of each ward and make recommendation to the executive council of each local unit before tabling the budget in the council.
Each rural municipality has got a minimum of Rs 100 million and a maximum of Rs 390 million. Similarly, municipalities and sub-metropolitan cities have received between Rs 150 million to Rs 460 million and Rs 400 million to Rs 630 million, respectively.
The local units have also received separate budget allocations as conditional grants, totaling Rs 76 billion.