Even though the Finance Ministry has been issuing the budget implementation guidelines for the effective implementation of the budget, the government has not been able to expedite the spending of capital budget. Apart from the prevailing hurdles of budget execution, the COVID-19 pandemic has further impeded capital expenditure this fiscal, as per ministry officials.

In the first four months of the current fiscal year (mid-July to mid-November), merely 8.34 per cent (Rs 29.45 billion) of the total Rs 352.92 billion budget allocated for capital expenditure for the current fiscal year has been spent, according to statistics maintained by the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO).

Citing that the capital expenditure this fiscal has been affected by the COV- ID-19 and the difficult situation created by the pandemic, Dhani Ram Sharma, chief of Budget and Programme Division at Ministry of Finance said, “The lockdown and difficulty in mobility since individuals infected with COVID-19 have to stay in weeks-long quarantine have affected development works and subsequently capital expenditure.”

“Since the COVID-19 has affected literally all economic activities capital expenditure also has taken a hit,” he said, adding, “However, we have been urging the line ministries for timely execution and accomplishment of development projects every year but they have to address the existing problems themselves to expedite capital expenditure.”

Although the capital expenditure during the first four months of the current fiscal year has increased compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, spending of only around eight per cent of the capital budget in four months is not satisfactory.

“This can also not be termed as growth in capital expenditure as the amount may have increased due to the payments made to contractors for development projects which had not been completed in the last fiscal due to COVID-19 and were completed in the current fiscal,” said Sharma.

The government had spent Rs 24.8 billion or 6.08 per cent of the targeted Rs 408 billion budget allocated for capital expenditure during the first four months of the previous fiscal year, as per the statistics of FCGO.

Meanwhile, in the first four months of this fiscal, 18.25 per cent of the budget has been spent from the government’s treasury. According to FCGO, Rs 269 billion out of the total Rs 1,474.64 billion budget allocated for the current fiscal year has been spent in the review period.

Similarly, only 24.25 per cent of the recurrent expenditure and 5.50 per cent of the financing budget have been spent in the review period. Out of the Rs 948.94 billion allocated for recurrent expenditure, Rs 230 billion has been spent in this period while Rs 9.5 billion of the Rs 172.79 billion allotted for financing purposes has been spent during the review period.

On the other hand, out of the targeted Rs 1,072.29 billion, the total receipts of the government have reached 25.15 per cent or Rs 269.68 billion.

The total receipts include Rs 240.15 billion revenue, Rs five billion in grants and Rs 24.6 billion in other receipts.

Meanwhile, the government collected 23.74 per cent of the total targeted revenue in the review period. The government had set a total revenue target of Rs 1,012 billion and as of mid-November, only Rs 240.15 billion revenue has been collected. The revenue includes Rs 226.04 billion in tax revenue and Rs 14.11 billion in non-tax revenue.


A version of this article appears in print on November 23, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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