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‘Budget without proper project plan results in low capital spending’

Ramesh Lamsal, Ashok Ghimire, KATHMANDU: Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr Pushpa Raj Kandel, has argued that the budget allocation without proper plan of projects has resulted in low capital expenditure.
At a time when the NPC is finalizing the approach paper of the 15th periodic plan, Vice-Chairman Dr Kandel, informed that NPC was preparing for the game changer projects in order to realize the government’s ambition of ‘prosperous Nepal: happy Nepali’.
Budget without project plan
Giving an interview to the National News Agency (RSS) on future plan, he admitted there was severe unawareness to cope up problems that surface on project planning and implementation. He made this observation in response to a question why national pride projects failed to gain pace. Adequate homework on planning was essential to make project successful, he stressed.
According to him, the NPC was monitoring the development projects, facilitating ministries and furnishing recommendation. NPC especially work for policy planning, monitoring, coordination and facilitation.
He however said envisioning all sorts of problems at implementation phase was not possible while planning. “We’re also learning lesson from the national pride projects,” Vice-Chairman Dr Khandel said, adding that adequate preparation for development in planning phase was imperative and the necessary budget arranged accordingly.
12,500 dollar per capita for prosperous Nepal
He further said a list of project bank was created with listing of project, coding, necessary financial and economic processes at different levels. Responding to the query whether problems on implementation phase fizzle out with project bank, the economist said NPC had analysed the project at various levels.
According to him, the ambition of ‘prosperous Nepal: happy Nepali’ is the state of Nepalis being prosperous with utmost use of country’s resources with proper means. The development ranging from human resource to technical and industrial fronts resulting into economic growth, justice and happiness among people can be equated to the ambition of ‘prosperous Nepal: happy Nepali. He argued that when Nepal becomes prosperous, the per capita income of the Nepalis will be 12,500 dollars in coming 25 years. For it to happen, he said, national unity, low/no corruption, less costly and transparent electoral system, social security, balanced ecosystem would be in to-do list.
Game changer project in 15th plan
The NPC Chairman admitted that the sub-national governments were yet to be resourceful, so they lack capacity to spend budget. “Rather than launching the new projects, we’re for completing the pending ones,” he said, however, adding even the game changer projects would be included in the 15th periodic plans by incorporating most of the sectors as the physical infrastructures and energy development.
The focus is on urban development, utilization of forest production, commercialization and modernization of agriculture.
According to him, time has come to press the implementing bodies to executive works on time in order to wipe out the problems pointed out by the development problems solution committee. In the meeting, it is natural to have problems of various kinds are surfaced for the county has numerous projects of varied costs.
Problems at multiple levels
He repeatedly said various projects were allocated budget without adequate plan and preparation. “Budget is released, but there is not plan for project,” he pointed out the incongruity and sheer lack of coordination on development projects. The differing acts of Finance Ministry (budget making) and NPC (budget evaluating) are still prevailing.
“There are problems with the ministries, but lack monitoring and evaluation. In the very estimation of budget, there is fault. Contractors too show problems. Procurement Act is already an impediment. Awarding low bidding is normal, while contract ditch the construction with mobilization budget. Unless problems different levels are not solved, development expenditure cannot be increased,” he stressed.
Some project with progress
The Vice-Chairman expressed satisfaction over the progress of the national pride projects as Bheri-Diversion Project, Pokhara Regional International Airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport and Upper Tamakoshi. He also reminded how the Bheri-Babai Diversion Project was botched up for some time.
Weak state capacity
He mentions other obstructions on the progress of projects as demand of high compensation, divided views on projects, attitudinal interference, lack of will power, policy level snags, non-cooperation from no-political fronts. He observed the State capacity itself is weak.
The NPC vice-chair strongly advises the implementing the provision of reward and punishment at political, bureaucracy and private sectors. RSS

Published Date: Saturday, February 8th, 2020 | 08:02 AM

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