At a time when the country is supposed to focus on reviving the economy through a strategic budgetary allocation, the Nepali Government has allocated a hefty amount to purchase new vehicles in the next fiscal year.
In the Budget of 2021/22, the government has earmarked NPR 1.7 billion to purchase new vehicles, twice the amount allocated in the last fiscal year.
The allocation sparked criticism across Nepal, claiming that the government has allocated a mammoth amount in an unproductive investment when the nation struggles to manage sufficient funds for healthcare and coronavirus vaccination drive.
As per the annual reports of the Office of Auditor General (OAG), the government allocates hefty funds to unproductive purchases every year.
The 57th OAG report revealed that the government spent NPR 5.86 billion on purchasing vehicles in the FY 2018/19, 406% more than the actual amount allocated in the budget.
The 56th OAG report found that though 622 of the total 800 four-wheelers under 22 ministries in Singha Durbar are operational, many government offices try to purchase new vehicles instead of using old ones.
Moreover, the government often transfers funds from other headings and utilizes contingency funds to purchase new vehicles, besides directly allocating huge funds.
For the coming FY, the government has allocated NPR 36.64 billion for contingency purposes, 36 times more than the amount of NPR 990 million allocated this year. This gives the government more flexibility to disburse more money for unproductive spending in the coming fiscal.
Moreover, the government has allocated NPR 5.37 billion for the maintenance of vehicles, an increase of NPR 600 million from the current FY.
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