Nepal: Maoists Shut Down Government Functions
Posted by n3wday on November 10, 2009
This article was published on Himalayan Times
Budget delay to ail primary sectors
Yadav Raj Joshi
KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Surendra Pandey today rang the alarm bell in the face of renewed Unified-CPN Maoist agitation.
Addressing a press conference, he said that the delay in passing the budget would affect primary sectors like health and food.
“The Ministry of Finance (MoF) cannot release funds for hospital and food supply that are earmarked for remote districts,” he said. Major government health facilities like Bir Hospital, Kanti Children Hospital, Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, Paropkar Maternity Hospital, National Health Laboratory and BP Koirala Institute of Medical Sciences will run out of funds if the budget is not passed by the first half of this month.
All health institutions have spent 33 per cent of their budget as per the financial law.
Pandey had presented Rs 285.9 3-billion budget for this fiscal 109 days ago. The budget set aside Rs 256.48 billion as treasury (reserved fund). The law stipulates that government can spend one third of the treasury — Rs 85.49 billion — as advance. Besides, the state is empowered to utilise Rs 29.45 billion as expenditure for constitutional bodies except legislature-parliament.
The minister expressed his concern for food supply programme, which is looked after by Nepal Food Corporation (NFC). “Funds crunch is preventing us from food supply in 22 remote districts. Of the Rs 106.2-billion that been allocated as transport cost from the advance budget, the NFC is left with only three per cent,” he explained. Bajhang, Bajura, Jajarkot, Achham along with far-flung districts in the Karnali Zone are completely dependant on the NFC.
The Cabinet and jailbirds also will be hit hard from November 16. As per record, both these offices have spent 32.58 cent and 25.90 per cent, respectively. However, the delay will not affect development programmes.
“We’ve adequate funds for the next four months. But if the budget is not passed by January 14, 2010, then all work will come to a halt,” added the minister.
Institutions face acute funds crunch
Budget (million) Expenditure (%)
Bir Hospital 250 33.20
Kanti Children Hospital 90.22 33.25
Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious
Diseases Hospital 36.11 33.33
Paropkar Maternity Hospital 92.5 33.30
BP Koirala Institute of Medical Sciences 30 33.33
National Health Lab 23.77 29.08
Nepal Food Corporation 354 30.00
Source: Ministry of Finance (as on October 24, 2009)