Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission sets up office

Published On: January 21, 2018 08:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 21: The office of National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission (NRFC), the constitutional body with an authority to advise the government on revenue distribution to the local levels and provinces, has been set up at Singha Durbar in Kathmandu. 

However, the high-powered commission, which plays a key role in distribution of equalization grants to provinces and local levels and is expected to work out a formula on resource distribution, has not yet got its members appointed. 

The office has come into operation with limited staff appointed on deputation basis till now, said Baikuntha Aryal, acting secretary of the commission. 

The government promoted joint-secretary Aryal to the commission’s acting secretary three weeks ago. 

The commission is a new agency set up as per the Constitution of Nepal promulgated in 2015. 

As per approved organizational structure, the commission will have 53 regular employees. It can also hire additional 43 employees on contract, including experts, as and when required. 

The commission’s recommendation, particularly on distribution of two grants -- fiscal equalization and conditional grants -- are essential for the government to table the budget in parliament for the next fiscal year. 

The constitution has fixed the date of Jestha 15 (mid May) for tabling the budget. The commission is likely to get its commissioners once the new government assumes office. 

The commission will also have to distribute the value added tax and excise duty among the three layers of the government, and work out the parameters on the distribution of the royalties earned from the use of natural resources amongst the local levels and provinces. It will also advise the government on settling disputes between the local levels and provinces on the use of natural resources. Central government gets 50 percent of the royalty from the natural resources, while the rest 50 percent is allotted to the local levels and provinces. 

The National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission Act 2017 was endorsed by the parliament in September last year.

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