Federal government plans to develop the capacity of provincial and local governmentsOfficials say the $130-million project will be implemented from early next fiscal year
The federal government is preparing to implement a programme under which the provincial and local governments will get support to strengthen their capacity of legislation, policies and modernisation of administration, enabling them to deliver services to the people effectively.
Officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration said that the $130-million project will be implemented from early months of the fiscal year 2019-20 that begins after a week.
Although the government had planned to implement the ‘Provincial and Local Governance Support Programme’ from January this year, the officials said that lack of preparations delayed the plan.
“We have sent a proposal for the programmes to the Finance Ministry. Once the Finance Ministry gets approval from the Cabinet, it will be implemented,” said Ramesh Adhikari, an under-secretary at the Federal Affairs Ministry.
Although the constitution has bestowed more rights and responsibilities on provincial and local governments, they are facing a shortage of capable human resource and infrastructure to deliver services.
Many local governments have complained about the lack of skilled human resource besides a lack of adequate staff after the elected representatives assumed office.
In order to strengthen their capacity, the new programme was envisioned. This will replace the Local Governance Community Development Programme, a national programme introduced in July 2008 to contribute towards poverty reduction through inclusive, responsive and accountable local governance. The programme has expired.
Five donors—the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Norway, the European Union and the UN agencies—have agreed to provide grants of $100 million for the new four-year programme, according to the Federal Affairs Ministry.
The federal government is contributing $30 million on top of that, according to the ministry.
The Finance Ministry said it is holding consultations with the donors to transform the commitment into a financing agreement to access the committed aid.
“Consultations are in the advanced stage as several rounds of discussion have already taken place,” said Shreekrishna Nepal, chief of the international economic cooperation coordination division at the Finance Ministry.
He said that the ministry also planned to send the proposal to the Cabinet soon for endorsement.
Once the programme comes into force, as much as $76 million will go to the local governments, provincial governments will receive $41 million and the federal government will spend $13 million, according to the Federal Affairs Ministry.
According to the ministry, the main goal of the new programme is to attain functional, sustainable, inclusive and accountable provincial and local governments through strengthening of governance systems, procedures and inter-governmental relationship as well as enhancing the capacity of provincial and local governments to deliver services and development outcomes.
Under the programme, federal institutions will develop legislation and policies to support the provincial and local governments in a consultative manner and the federal government will also develop the tools and system to provide support to the sub-national governments.
The provincial and local administrations will be modernised, enabling them to manage core public service works. The elected representatives and civil servants at the provincial and local levels will be trained for delivering high quality services under the scheme.
According to officials, the training would be provided in the areas of financial management, good governance, information technology, accounting, handling of judicial duties, preparing gender-sensitive budgets, revenue management and ways to raise internal revenues.