Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today directed secretaries to get necessary approval for implementation of Priority One (P1) projects within a week or two, and also expedite reforms programmes.

The finance minister directing secretaries of Energy, Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Urban Development, and Irrigation, ministries asked them to get the clearance for implementation of P1 projects from the National Planning Commission (NPC) as they have failed to meet the deadline of August 10. He also asked the secretaries to award contracts by mid-December.

The government has projected six per cent economic growth rate, he said, adding that the secretaries of the ministries that consume more budget must expedite the process of getting P1 projects approved for timely spending for desired output. The planning commission needs to approve P1 projects before they go into implementation, but related ministries are responsible for the P2 and P3 projects.

Although it is mandatory to get the planning commission’s approval prior to implementing new P1 projects, proposals of only some 47 P1 projects have been tabled at the commission till date, according to the planning commission vice chair Dr Govinda Raj Pokharel. “But the commission has approved 37 projects.”

The government has listed some 491 projects in the current fiscal year. Of them, some 339 have been listed under P1 projects. Of the total P1 projects around 30 per cent – some 102 projects – are the regular projects that are under multi-year contract. They don’t needs approval every year. Remaining of P1 projects need to get commission’s approval.

Delay in projects approval will not help expedite the capital expenditure like previous fiscal years. Last fiscal year too, the government failed to spend the capital budget due to delay in implementation of the projects.

The government has separated Rs 116.75 billion for capital expenditure for the current fiscal year.

Advising the secretaries to buck the trend of spending large chunk of capital budget at fiscal year end, he instructed them effective and quality spending.

Likewise, Dr Mahat also asked the secretaries to forward key economic bills to the parliament for their approval at the earliest.

Finance Minister had in the budget for the current fiscal year 2014-15, promised reform of three dozen laws for second generation economic reforms as well as for attracting foreign investments. “We need to implement reform programmes,” Mahat said, adding that it would be difficult to attract foreign investment without reforms in legal fronts.

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