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Government spent 70 per cent capital budget in last two months

As usual, the government has spent 70 per cent of the capital expenditure in the last two months of the last fiscal year, despite the timely budget.

Over the last six fiscal years – from fiscal year 2008-09 to fiscal year 2012-13 – the successive government spent 73 per cent of the capital expenditure in the last trimester due to delay in budget announcements.

However, the bureaucrat-government had brought budget on time in the last fiscal year.

The last minute spending has taken toll on the quality of the development works, according finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat.

As it takes around four months to get project approval from the National Planning Commission, the development works get started after only half year.

Apart from the delay in project approval, the procedural and season delays have also allowed down the development works, forcing the government to spent maximum on the last months, according to Finance Ministry spokesperson Ram Sharan Pudasaini.

Likewise, inadequate preparations of projects before budget also contribute to to low and late spending, he said, adding that the government had spent Rs 63.7 billion – 84.9 per cent of the cash budget of Rs 75.03 billion – though total capital budget stood at Rs 85.1 billion. “The government treasury has been bulging as it has budget surplus of Rs 40.72 billion, in the last fiscal year.”

There is no problem of resources rather weak management, lack of inter-ministerial coordination that has eroded the absorption capacity.

Likewise, in the current fiscal year too, the Finance Ministry has presented the budget on time, but the planning commission is yet to approve projects. “The ministries have forwarded only 90 first priority (P1) programmes and projects to the planning commission for its approval as of today. There are some 339 P1 projects.

The planning commission has to approve P1 projects, while ministries themselves approve P2 and P3 projects.

Despite the Finance Ministry’s request to approve their P1 programmes and projects by planning commission by August 10, only some 11 per cent of the projects had been approved until August 25.