House panel tells govt to rise development expenditure

Dec 9, 2016- A meeting of the Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament on Thursday directed the government to increase development expenditure for the fiscal year to 90 percent. 

The National Planning Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development have been asked to act in this regard. 
The directive was issued after lawmakers attending the meeting drew the attention of the government to the situation wherein only six percent of development expenditure has been made even five months after the start of the current fiscal year. 
The lawmakers were of the view that the delay in approving development projects, obstructions in project execution areas by local people, forest and environment related-problems, lack of construction materials, delay in the construction of development projects citing various reasons and failure to blacklist those contractors failing to complete projects on time among others are some of the factors that have made the matter worse. 
In response, Minister for Local Development Hitraj Pandey informed the house committee that although the ministry had banned extraction of construction materials like sands and pebbles from rivers in the past, the authority to do so now has been handed over to the respective district development committees. 
Committee Chair Rabindra Adhikari said the meeting decided to instruct the bodies concerned not to allocate budget to projects which are without preparation. 
Lawmaker Lalit Jung Shahi shared that only six percent of the total development budget has been spent in the last five months of the current fiscal year, which according to him, shows the lack of capacity to spend the budget. 
Lawmakers Ganesh Pahadi, Sita Giri, Rabin Koirala, Baijanath Chaudhary, Tulasa Rana, Janardan Dhakal, Mohan Baniya and Shiva Chandra Chaudhary said lack of human resources at the bodies utilising the development expenditure, lack of coordination among the different bodies concerned and frequent transfers of employees were hampering development expenditure. 
Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said the Ministry of Finance issued a 10-point directive on November 23 to the bodies concerned for spending the development budget in a legitimate manner.