Non-budgetary demand soars to Rs 239 billion in first quarter

Published On: November 12, 2017 09:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 12: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has received an additional demand of Rs 239 billion from various ministries in the first quarter alone, though the ministries often fail to spend the amount allocated to them, particularly the budget for development projects endorsed by the parliament.

The non-budgetary demand by different ministries and subsequent allocation by the ministry in the recent years have fueled financial indiscipline, but the MoF officials have maintained that they do not provide budget without appropriate rationale. 

The budget for development works in this fiscal year is Rs 335 billion. Such demand by the end of the second quarter in last fiscal year was Rs 200 billion. 

Kewal P Bhandari, chief of the budget division of the MoF, said that there are a few rational demands but mostly they lack reasonable grounds. 

Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has made the highest demand of Rs 130 billion for construction of buildings for the new set-up of the local bodies. The demand of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport is in tune of Rs 27 billion, including Rs 23 billion for road and bridge projects promised in breach of last year’s budget and programs. Government has allocated Rs 225 billion for all 753 local bodies through the annual budget program unveiled in May. 

Bhandari however said that they would not release budget haphazardly as demanded, and that the government was running out of cash in its vault and did not have reserve for non-budgetary programs having no reasonable grounds. 

The demand of the Ministry of Home Affairs stands at Rs 15 billion and the purposes include purchasing land, communication equipment, and a helicopter. Likewise, the budget demand of the Ministry of Defence is Rs 24 billion in order to purchase vehicles, helicopter, plane, and disaster management equipment, and to repair flood damaged infrastructure. The government has already provided Rs 418 million for purchasing a helicopter. 

Likewise, the Ministry of Irrigation has demanded Rs 2.13 billion for rehabilitation of the irrigation projects and facilities damaged by August floods. 

The MoF has already transferred Rs 9.19 billion in the first quarter to different ministries for different purposes, including elections. 

The ministries showing very poor performance against the given budget have also sought new budget. Twenty-five percent time or first three months of the fiscal year have already been elapsed, but only 5.65 percent of the budget tabled in the parliament has been spent. 

The non-budgetary demands also include projects that the political party leaders insert in order to woo their voters or provide business to their cadres.

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