KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The government has managed to spend only 6.25 percent of the capital budget in the first quadrimester of the current fiscal year 2017/18.
The poor spending figure shows that the government has not been able to make significant progress in development expenditure in the current fiscal year as well.
While capital expenditure in the review period marks an improvement compared to a paltry 5 percent spending in the corresponding period of FY 2016/17, capital spending figure in the current fiscal year even after the timely budget is 'disappointingly low'. The current pattern of spending also indicates that the long-standing trend of spending in the last quarter, particularly the last month of the fiscal year-end, will continue in the current fiscal year as well.
According to Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO) under the Ministry of Finance, the government has spent only 20.87 billion, or 6.23 percent, out of the allocated development budget of Rs 335.18 billion for the current fiscal year.
The government had introduced the budget for the current fiscal year in time and also lengthy procedures to get the project approval by various ministries from the National Planning Commission were cut short amid concerns that these were two major culprits for weak capital spending in the previous fiscal years.
Economists say that the failure to boost spending is the result of combination of inefficient bureaucracy that implements the budget and low priority to economic development by political parties who lead the government. “
"The slow pace of capital spending shows that the bureaucracy and the mechanism to implement the budget is very inefficient while those who command them, either that is the Ministry of Finance or the National Planning Commission, have also failed to fulfill their responsibility," Ram Prasad Gyanwaly, the head of the Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, said.
Economists also worry that the slow pace of spending indicates that the majority of expenditure is likely to take place in the last quarter of the fiscal year, resulting into sub-standard quality of capital spending.
While the capital expenditure has remained low, the government has spent 22.74 percent, or Rs 182.75 billion, of the Rs 803.53 billion allocated for recurrent expenditures in the first four months of FY 2017/18.
The government spent a total of Rs 211.62 billion, including Rs 7.99 billion in financing like debt service, in the review period.