Parliament passes Appropriation BillParliament on Saturday approved the Appropriation Bill, avoiding the need to bring a Cash Advance Bill that had become a regular feature of Nepal’s budgetary process, which has often been marred by political wrangling and obstruction of budget session.
A history of sorts has been created in Nepal’s budgetary process with government having the authority to spend for the next fiscal year-several days before it begins-for the first time since 2000. Parliament on Saturday approved the Appropriation Bill, avoiding the need to bring a Cash Advance Bill that had become a regular feature of Nepal’s budgetary process, which has often been marred by political wrangling and obstruction of budget session.
The biggest positive effect of this timely approval of the bill would be on the development spending, as ministries and departments can begin early procurement process of goods and services to implement development plans.
This is likely to help expedite the development spending that has even in the best of times have hovered below 80 percent.
“Development spending was quite high in 2000 when the budget was approved on time,” said former finance secretary Rameshore Khanal. “This should have a positive impact if detailed plans of new programmes are approved on time by the National Planning Commission.”
Timely appropriation accompanied by a new simplified Public Procurement Act could create a favourable environment for development spending, said Khanal. “But for that to happen, procedural delays should be overcome in the tender and procurement process and competent individuals as project chiefs in key infrastructural project should be hired,” he added.
Gopi Nath Mainali, Joint Secretary at the National Planning Commission, however, has a cautious optimism.
“We will approve the detailed spending plan of the new programmes on time for the implementation for the next fiscal year when the ministries make those submissions,” Mainali said. “But this is where we could see some delays from the ministries.”
The timely approval of the Appropriation Bill has largely been attributed to a mandatory provision in the new constitution that has fixed May 28 as the date for budget presentation in Parliament.
The government presented Rs 10.48 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 in May.