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Four agriculture projects spent nearly Rs 2 billion for consultant services OAG

It has been revealed that four projects under theMinistry of Agricultural, Land Management and Cooperatives having a combinedbudget of Rs 18.29 billion spent nearly Rs 2 billion for consultation services.

According to the 55th Annual Report of Office of theAuditor General, four projects under the ministry - Project for AgriculturalCommercial and Trade (PACT), Kathmandu; Raising Income for Small and MediumFarmers Project, Nepalgunj; Agriculture and Food Security Project, Kathmandu;and Improved Seed for Farmers Program, Butwal - paid Rs 1.91 billion forprocurement of consultant services.

“Of the total Rs 18.29 billion, these projects havealready spent Rs 13.58 billion, including Rs 4.29 billion in Fiscal Year2016/17,” the report states.

The OAG has directed the ministry to curb expenses onconsultant services. “These projects have been found paying 6.67 percent to21.84 percent of their total budget for consultant services. This needs to becontrolled,” the OAG said in the report.
According to the report, PACT spent 9.53 percent of its budget for consultantservice. The total budget of the six-year program is Rs 6 billion. Of the totalbudget, Rs 1.92 billion was spent in FY2016/17. The project has already spentRs 5.68 billion. It used Rs 54 million for consultant service. 

Similarly, Raising Income for Small and Medium FarmersProject has spent Rs 46 million for consultant service which is 21.84 percentof its total budget. Of the total budget of Rs 2.59 billion, the project hasalready spent Rs 2.12 billion

Agriculture and Food Security Project has spent Rs 77million on consultant service which is 20.51 percent of the total budget of theproject. The total investment of the project is Rs 4.93 billion. Till now ithas spent Rs 3.76 billion.

Likewise, Improved Seed for Farmers Program has spent Rs13 million on consultant service which is 6.67 percent of its total budget. Thetotal investment of the project is Rs 4.77 billion. It has already spent aroundRs 2 billion including Rs 69 million in FY2016/17.

According to the Ministry of Agricultural, LandManagement and Cooperatives, consultant service expenses covers spendingrelated to hiring consultant on contract, maintenance of technical equipment,managing official websites and obtaining several advices for the projects.

Talking to Republica, Yogendra Karki, the spokespersonfor the agricultural ministry, said that the ministry will study thesuggestions made by the OAG and taken needful actions.

“The report does not mean that the ministry is making unnecessaryexpenditure for consultant service. We are only paying for consultant servicesneeded for the smooth functioning of the projects,” he added.


Source : My Republica, 18th April2018

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