Local units face shortage of office space, but federal help not forthcomingThe federal government is still in the planning phase of developing building designs and standards.
Mangsebung Rural Municipality in Ilam has been facing a shortage of office space. The rural municipality carries out all its operations from a single building, which is barely enough to accommodate all office departments, according to the officials.
Several departments under the office are carrying out their duties from inside the same room even though the office building of the erstwhile village development committee was recently upgraded into a three-storey building.
“We are operating from eight rooms of the building to run the administrative works of the rural municipality. We do not have enough space to accommodate all the offices,” said Dilli Ram Subedi, chief adminstrative officer of the rural municipality. “We have even rented an old house to set up some of the offices, and yet we need more space to accommodate several other departments.”
The rural municipality has been looking for an office space to rent, but there are no decent buildings around.
The lack of office space is a problem that most of the rural municipalities across the country are facing at the moment, according to Bimal Pokharel, executive director of the National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal.
According to the association, around 80 percent of the rural municipalities do not have their own office buildings.
“Those rural municipalities with their own buildings are also facing the shortage of office space,” Pokharel told the Post.
Only 54 percent of the local governments have their own buildings to run administrative works, according to Nepal Federal Capacity Needs Assessment Report published in August.
The assessment was carried out by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration in collaboration with the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme.
Following the report’s findings, the federal government had announced a plan to help the local governments build their administrative buildings, but not much has come of it so far.
“We are still in the planning phase and we have developed some building designs and standards,” said Bhupal Baral, spokesperson for the ministry.
He added that the federal government will also share the cost of the adminstrative buildings on partnership modality.
For this, a working procedure is being drafted which will determine how much burden the centre will share in building the office buildings for local governments.
Though the ministry had drafted the working procedure last year, it has not been finalised yet.
In the working procedure, the federal government has proposed sharing the financial burden of 70 percent to build the administrative buildings for local governments.
As per the draft, a maximum of Rs150 million could be spent to construct an office building for a metropolitan city and Rs50 million for a rural municipality.
Similarly, a maximum of Rs15 million could be spent to construct a ward office building of municipality and maximum Rs10 million for a rural municipality.
Baral said that the ministry was finalising the working procedure which would soon determine the construction cost.
Last year, the ministry had said that around 350 of the 753 local governments require new office buildings to perform their routine administrative works smoothly.