There will be no excuse for justifying budget underspending next fiscal: FinMin

Published On: May 15, 2019 03:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Only 38 percent of capital budget spent in 11 months

KATHMANDU, May 15: Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada has said that the current government will not have any excuse to justify its failure to meet capital expenditure target set in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Responding to comments and questions of members of parliament on Tuesday on Priorities and Principles of the budget for FY2019/20, he said that the government's countdown will start from May 29 -- the day when the budget will be tabled in the parliament -- to achieve the capital spending target without any excuse.

The statement of the finance minister comes in the wake of widespread criticism on the failure of the government with two-thirds majority to boost capital expenditure.

Prior to Khatiwada's address, most of the members in parliament commenting on the government's priorities and principles for the upcoming fiscal year had criticized the government for sluggish capital spending in the current fiscal year.

“I have myself stated in the Priorities and Principles of the Appropriation [Bill] that we have still not been able to spend the capital budget as expected,” said Khatiwada.

“We have got an excuse for this year for not being able to spend in line with the target. Until March, we were working on revising laws that were contradictory to the constitution as well as acts for the implementation of federalism. We also had to make preparation on setting up structures for spending, revenue sharing and drafting working procedures and other regulations,” he said. “In the upcoming fiscal year, we will not have that excuse,” he added, expressing commitment to resolve problems in public procurement, decision-making process and organizational set up that have posed challenges in the implementation of capital budget.

According to data of Financial Comptroller General Office, the government has been able to spend only 38.05 percent of the capital budget as of Monday. Out of a total of Rs 313.99 billion allocated for the current fiscal year, the capital expenditure as of Monday stands at Rs 119.47 billion only.

The government has been attributing its primary focus on setting up institutions in the federal set up, confusion over jurisdiction of projects and delay in staff adjustment to poor capital expenditure in the current fiscal year.

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