KATHMANDU, July 27: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has said that the existing provisions of the Public Procurement Act are obstacles to expedite the pace of development works.
Sharma made the remarks in an interaction with economists, including former vice-chairmen of the National Planning Commission, on Monday. Sharma said efforts would be made to make the Public Procurement Act timely and effective. Minister Sharma said that the suggestions of economists were needed to increase capital expenditure.
He said that the modality of mass mobilization should be adopted in the development work. He claimed that the modalities of public participation and community-based development could replace the traditional style of development. He said that he would not compromise with anyone in the matter of transparency and would work with strong will as long as he was in charge of the Ministry.
At the program, Economist Bishwambhar Pyakurel suggested working to reduce the financial cost of development projects. He blamed structural problems for the lack of capital expenditure and the slowdown in development.
Member of the National Assembly Khim Lal Devkota accused the federal government of lacking interest in the implementation of federalism and stressed on the need to change the structure of the bureaucracy and devolve power at the province and local levels.
Economist Hari Roka suggested announcing an immediate relief package for the people affected by COVID-19 pandemic. He said that there was a syndicate of limited people in the import sector for a long time and bold steps should be taken to break it.
Economist Ramesh Poudel said that an education system that connects education with production. He argued that it is impossible to bring development in the country as long as there are degree holders at home but need another person to do simple tasks such as connecting electricity.
According to economists, the coalition government should bring the minimum common policies and programs of the government as soon as possible, set a common concept of socialism as specified in the constitution, make public the report of the Public Expenditure Review Commission, speed up procurement of COVID vaccines, announce targeted programs to increase capital expenditure.
Finance Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana gave a presentation on the current state of the economy. He said that economic growth was projected at 4.1 percent for the last fiscal year, but could not be achieved due to the second wave of COVID-19.
He informed that the current expenditure of the last fiscal year reached 89.68 percent and capital expenditure reached 64.71 percent. Discussing the main challenges of the economy, Secretary Dhungana said that qualitative capital expenditure should be increased, revenue collection should be increased by 22 percent, financial discipline should be maintained, trade-based economy should be transformed into production based economy and growing trade deficit should be reduced.