Laxmi Capital News
Rs 155b allocated out of budget for road projects

Ambitionof finance ministers behind financial indiscipline: Experts

It has been learnt that the Ministry of Finance had doledout projects with resources assurances, worth Rs 32.55 billion, mostly in theeleventh hours in the Fiscal Year 2016/17 in piecemeal basis. 

Abouttwo-thirds of these amounts were spent on roads. Hundreds of road projectsworth Rs 123 billion were commissioned across the country. Such projects werecontracted out on multi-year terms, completely breaching the budgetarysystem. 

These are therevelations made by Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in its audit report forthe Fiscal Year 2016/17, made public on Thursday. 

An excerpt ofthe OAG’s 55th report says: “Such budget was allocated as per demand, and thisis against the Appropriation Act, Financial Directive Act. All such spending isagainst the principle of budget.” 

AuditorGeneral Tanka Mani Sharma said the two mega budget distributions were doneoutside of the parliament, and without justifying rationality, which showed aheight of budgetary indiscipline in project selection. 

Ministry ofPhysical Infrastructure and Transport has distributed additional Rs 21.8billion on road projects out of Rs 32.55 billion, followed by Ministry ofIrrigation with an allocation of Rs 2.48 billion. According to OAG’scompilation, Rs 1.1 billion was provided to Nepal Army for purchasing a newaircraft while Rs 1.8 billion was paid to provide motor vehicles for Office ofAttorney General, Legislature Parliament and others.

Minister forFinance Krishna Bahadur Mahara and his other cabinet ministers had also takenaway budget from the heading ‘miscellaneous’ to woo their voters in theupcoming elections. According to a story published by Republica last year, atotal of Rs 5.05 billion were directly allocated to the constituencies of theerstwhile ministers. These constituencies included the one in Chitwan districtfrom where erstwhile Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal contested in theelection of house of representative and his daughter RenuDahal for the post ofBharatpur Mayor.  

“The budgetheading of ‘miscellaneous’ has outgrown disproportionately in the recent yearsand these are only to meet the ambitions of the finance ministers who forkedout from the budget heading of miscellaneous to please the prime ministers andministers,” said Suk DevBhattaraiKhatri, former acting auditor general. 

Khatri furthersaid: “The financial indiscipline has taken toll on state coffers when financeministers are illiterate or semi-literate on the matters of financial mattersand budgetary principles.”

The impact ofthese indisciplines in the budget are huge particularly on the priorityprojects as the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation facesresource crunch to foot the bills of national pride projects.

Source: My Republica, 16th April, 2018