KATHMANDU, March 23: Disappointing voters who expected rapid and meaningful development following the restructuring of the country, the provincial governments have spent only a minimum amount from the budget for the current fiscal year. Lack of identification of priority areas and of proper work plans has hit budget expenditure and the development process.
The first phase of federalism in practice has thus left people unexcited. When they released a year's progress under the budget a month ago, they had cited many programs and projects as being 'underway'. However, the expenditure sheet now suggests a different picture. As per the data provided, Province 1 has spent just 11.1 percent of its budget, Province 2 has spent 12 percent, Province 3 just 15 percent and Gandaki Province 9 percent . Likewise, Province 5 could spent 11 percent while Karnali Province spent not more than 2.78 percent. Far Western Province accounted for 6.6 percent.
Provinces and budget spent so far
Province 1: 11.1%
Province 2: 12%
Province 3: 15%
Province 5: 11%
Sudur Paschim: 6.6%
Harihar Poudel, under-sectary at the ministry concerned in Province 1, puts the blame on the central government's poor budget chart. The government greatly delayed handing over functions and funds, and so the provincial government could not come up with any good results, he said.“First, it was a whole new structure. Next, we were handed the responsibilities much too late. Obviously, it took time for us to plan things,” he noted.
According to Poudel, the adjustment of civil servants also hindered progress. Even now, this matter has not been properly settled, he said. Pushkar Nath Ghimire, secretary of the ministry concerned in Province 2, also cited the delay in handover of authority and resources as reasons for low budget expenditure. He stated that road projects have received a big slice of the budget pie.“There are many major projects ongoing . But roads have received most attention in this province,” he said. He too cited the adjustment of staff as a delaying factor. “It is hard to spend the budget unless we have a clear vision and policies,” he said.
According to Mukti Prasad Pandey, a provincial ministry secretary in Province 4, the aim was to spend at least 70 percent of the budget, but that could not happen, he said.