Province 3 government stops issuance of grants to 17 local unitsThe local units had failed to deposit revenue of the last fiscal year in the reserve fund.
The government of Province 3 has taken stringent action against 17 local units in the province for failing to deposit the revenue collection of the last fiscal year 2018/19 to the provincial government’s reserve fund. There are a total of 119 local units in the province.
Hari Prasad Upadhyay, chief at provincial treasury comptroller office, said that the office stopped issuance of around Rs 2.97 billion meant for 17 local bodies of Province 3 in the current fiscal year. According to him, the frozen amount is the first installment of the grants issued by the provincial executive to the local bodies.
“We repeatedly urged them (the local units) to deposit last year’s revenue collection and submit a report about their income and expenditure. But they did not pay any heed to us. So we were compelled to freeze the grant,” said Upadhyay. He added that those 17 local bodies did not even return the frozen amount provided to them under the conditional grant in the last fiscal year.
“We will not release any budget unless those local bodies submit their financial report, deposit the revenue in the fund and return the conditional grant that they could not spend last year,” said Upadhyay. He added that a budget of more than Rs 10 billion has been issued to 102 local bodies so far.
According to the information available at the provincial treasury comptroller office, only 74 local units had deposited the revenue at the provincial fund by the end of the last fiscal year. Twenty-eight other local bodies submitted their financial reports and deposited the revenue in the first quarter of the current fiscal year after the provincial treasury comptroller office had instructed them accordingly.
“Some local units are unaware of the legal provisions about the tax system. We have been educating them about it,” said Upadhyay, adding that few local bodies were reluctant to abide by the legal provisions.
As per the existing legal provisions, the local units can collect tax on various sectors including advertisements, entertainment, revenue imposed on the sale of forest products, et cetera.
Labsher Bista, mayor of Thaha Municipality, which is yet to deposit the revenue in the reserve fund, said that the municipality could not deposit the revenue due to the lack of coordination between the account’s office of the local body and officials at the provincial treasury comptroller office.