Singha Durbar to share up to 60 percent cost to build local government officesOnly 54 percent of the local governments have their own buildings for administrative work.
Singha Durbar will foot up to 60 percent of the cost for building local governments’ offices, a senior federal government official told the Post on Friday.
Jaya Narayan Acharya, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, said that as per the Working Procedure on Local Level Administrative Building Infrastructure Development Programme endorsed by the Cabinet on December 30, the federal government will fund as much as 60 percent of the cost for constructing administrative buildings for rural municipalities.
“The central government will share 50 percent of the cost of construction for administrative buildings for the municipalities. The cost to be shared by the federal government will be 40 percent in the case of a sub-metropolitan city,” said Acharya.
He said the cost-sharing mechanism was introduced to construct the administrative buildings in a partnership model. “Even the provincial governments can share the cost. If they join, the current cost-sharing mechanism may differ.”
In 2018, the Federal Affairs Ministry had prepared a proposal under which the burden of cost-sharing on the federal government was kept as high as 70 percent.
As most of the local governments don’t have their own buildings, the federal government sought to help them with construction. The incomes of most of the local governments still rely on federal grants to run various programmes.
Only 54 percent of the local governments have their own buildings to run administrative works, according to the Nepal Federal Capacity Needs Assessment Report published in August. However, officials say many of them are also not suitable as per the need of the local governments.
Besides a shortage of government employees, the lack of a proper administrative building is another complaint of the local councils. The local elections were held in 2017.
According to Hom Narayan Shrestha, president of the National Association for Rural Municipalities in Nepal, most of the rural municipalities, particularly in the earthquake-affected areas, are crippled by the absence of proper buildings to run the local administration.
Shrestha, who is also the chairman in Sidhupalchok’s Jugal Rural Municipality, the district most affected by the earthquake in 2015, said his rural municipality has offices in makeshift buildings and rented houses, which are not proper for delivering services.
The federal government has, however, left it open for the local government what type of buildings they want. The Federal Affairs Ministry had proposed four models to bring uniformity in the administrative buildings across the local governments.
“But, the participants at the discussions at the Cabinet committee raised the issue that the local governments could prefer to construct a building suitable to local cultures. The working procedure gives the local governments the choice—whether they want to build as per their design or the federal government’s,” said Ram Chandra Shrestha, director general at the Department of Local Infrastructure under the Federal Affairs Ministry.
Currently, the government has not calculated the exact cost of building these structures as the requirement of space could differ depending on the number of employees in each local unit.
“However, there are certain standards set by the Department of Urban Development and Building for an administrative building which should be adhered to,” said Shrestha.