Kathmandu Metropolitan City unveils Rs18.9 billion budgetThis year, too, the City has prioritised Covid-19 containment in its annual budget.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Thursday unveiled a budget of Rs18.9 billion for the next fiscal year 2021-22.
Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi presented the budget at the ninth municipal assembly with the motto ‘Cultural City, Kathmandu Metropolitan City.’
This year, the City's budget has been grouped under five categories, with the highest share of Rs10.5 billion going towards infrastructure development.
The City has allocated Rs3.7 billion for administrative sector and office operation, and Rs2.7 billion for social development.
Rs 1.1 billion has been set aside for good governance.
Last year, the City had allocated a budget of Rs 16.42 billion.
Although Rs 100 million was allocated to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the City couldn’t even construct a single isolation or quarantine centre when thousands of people were infected with the coronavirus.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City was woefully slow in Covid-19 preparedness compared to its neighbouring cities Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
This year, too, the City has prioritised Covid-19 containment in its annual budget.
“Our main concern is to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and make the City virus free first,” said Deputy Mayor Khadgi.
Khadgi said that this time the City had more sensible plans, mainly concerning the pandemic, and no lofty promises for building monorails and flyovers unlike in the past.
“The priority of the City should be towards vaccinating the City residents,” said the deputy mayor.
In its Covid-19 relief plan, the City has announced a tax waiver of up to 80 percent for businesses, hotels and tourism enterprises that have been impacted by the pandemic.
The City has also announced a 10 percent subsidy on tenant's tax from landlords.
In its annual budget, the City has also announced plans to construct public toilets in each ward—a plan that has figured in past budget announcements as well.
Ever since Bidya Sundar Shakya was elected the mayor of Kathmandu in 2017, his office has been promising to construct 300 public conveniences. The City has yet to deliver on the mayor’s promise.
Until fiscal year 2019-20, the City had been announcing ambitious projects while unveiling its annual budget, such as construction of flyovers, monorails, a City hospital for the elderly, purification of polluted river waters, disabled-friendly roads and management of drainage. When it came to their implementation, the City has failed consistently.
The City has also prioritised programmes aimed at promoting gender equality and preservation of cultural heritage.