Shortages stall construction work at priority projectsThe fuel crisis and shortage of building materials have stalled the construction work of Nepal’s first priority projects with 25 percent of them recording 80 percent progress during the first four months of the fiscal year, the National Planning Commission (NPC) said in a progress report.
The fuel crisis and shortage of building materials have stalled the construction work of Nepal’s first priority projects with 25 percent of them recording 80 percent progress during the first four months of the fiscal year, the National Planning Commission (NPC) said in a progress report.
Only 82 out of the 326 top priority projects have achieved best performance. The government puts projects showing more than 80 percent progress under the best performing category.
Similarly, 73 projects (22 percent) have achieved progress of 50-80 percent while 115 projects (35 percent) have completed less than 50 percent of their construction work during the review period. The status reports of 56 projects (18 percent) are not known, the report said.
Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel said that there was a need to reprioritise large development projects based on their chances of being completed.
Speaking at the 35th meeting of the National Development Action Committee (NDAC) on Friday, he said that most of the development projects were facing problems due to lack of fuel and construction materials.
According to the NPC, the government has put 468 projects in this year’s priority list. Among them, 326 projects have been classified as top priority, 120 projects second priority and 22 projects third priority.
In fiscal 2014-15, there were 491 development projects under construction. Of the 339 projects in the top priority list, 199 projects were able to complete 80 percent of the construction work.
Poudel said that shortages of fuel and materials had affected many development projects. “Due to this reason, the government has been unable to spend Rs90 billion of the capital expenditure budget for reconstruction,” he said.
The country has been reeling under severe shortages of various products due to a trade embargo imposed by India that has continued for more than three months. The embargo on cargo movement has brought life to a near standstill.
Market prices have zoomed and economic growth has slowed. The government has projected that the country’s economic growth could be less than 2 percent this year while inflation has already exceeded 10 percent in the first four months.
Similarly, the government’s revenue collection has plunged. Poudel said the government was exploring new ways to increase revenue to make up for the deficit in regular sources. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, government missed its revenue target by Rs50 billion.
The finance minister also stressed the need to focus on the reconstruction of earthquake affected areas. “The effort will help increase economic activities,” said Poudel, adding that the government would manage sufficient funding for national pride projects so that they wouldn’t have to shut down for lack of money.
Meanwhile, Minister of Peace and Reconstruction Ek Nath Dhakal said that the government had not been able to spend capital resources because it failed to appoint officials in many areas.
Home Minister Shakti Basnet said there was a need to revise the priority list of projects. According to him, the absence of elected people’s representatives at the local level had also resulted in the projects’ missing their deadline.
Likewise, Minister for Information and Communi-cations Technology Sherdhan Rai called for an effective monitoring and evaluation system to ensure the timely completion of development projects.
Meanwhile, the NPC has planned to recommend to the respective ministries to issue directives along with suitable standards within two months in a bid to speed up the construction work of multi-year projects.
The NPC has also planned to ask the respective ministries to send a list of the required human resources at short-handed government offices to the Public Service Commission so that additional staff can be arranged.