KATHMANDU – Speaker Devraj Ghimire asserted that the federal parliament would play an effective role in reducing the arrears surfaced at present and he pledged to take serious initiatives to that end.
Addressing the 65th anniversary of the Office of the Auditor General here today, Speaker Ghimire assured that the Federal Parliament would actively work towards addressing the problems related to arrears as pointed out by the Office of the Auditor General.
Speaking of the need to objectively analyze the factors responsible for increasing prevalence of arrears in the later year, the Speaker reiterated the Federal Parliament will take initiatives to correct other shortcomings in the field of auditing if any.
He rued that the effectiveness of the parliamentary Public Account Committee and the Federal Parliament itself was dismal to clear the arrears. He, however, reassured that he would make utmost effort to bring about changes in that.
Similarly, Minister for Finance Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said that increasing prevalence of arrears in the recent years was a cause of concern. Thus, he argued that there should be scrutiny of the delivery of three-tier government’s mechanism.
Stating that his Ministry was coordinating efforts with various concerned agencies to maintain financial discipline and with zero-tolerance towards any anomalies surrounding budget transfer, Minister Mahat warned that his Ministry was keeping an eye on financial affairs and conducts of the concerned agencies.
He assured that there would be an end to the trend of asking for payment towards the end of the fiscal year. “The projects delivering nothing as of mid-May spring into action and make-believe of delivering in a hurry just for the sake of asking for payment. I am keeping an eye on it. The government is working towards preventing such wrong tendencies,” the Minister cautioned.
He viewed that there was impact on capital expenditure due to allocation of budget under the headings of mandatory obligation such as social security, administrative expenses, the principal and interest of public debt among others. Likewise, Public Account Committee President Arjun Narsingh KC asserted that if the tax paid by the tax payers would not be spent frugally, it would be a violation of democratic values and principles.
He opined that the State should mindfully acknowledge how much taxes paid by taxpayer were being used where and how.
Furthermore, he underscored the need to enhance technical skills of the human resources involved in auditing. According to him, politicization in public corporations and public offices had led to the current dire situation.
“The arrears were increasing yearly. Financial irregularities and misappropriation are creating a tumultuous situation,” he added, warning of the possibility of the donor agencies not trusting us anymore.
He suggested putting an end to trend of allocating budgets for the projects that were not ready to be executed and making large payment at the end of the fiscal year besides stopping random financial transfer. Acting Auditor General Ram Maya Kunwar shared that risk-based auditing system was employed to make auditing objective and factual as well as on par with international standards.
She admitted, “There is a problem in performance due to increase in financial transaction in public sector with the available human resources and material capacity. Also, financial disciplines were being violated. However, we are moving ahead identifying the short-term and long-term areas of improvement.”
The audited report is submitted to the President later. Meanwhile, as per the 60th report of the Auditor General, the total arrears of the government till date have exceeded over Rs 959 billion and 790 million in the fiscal year 2078/79 BS.
Auditing of a total of 6,543 federal, provincial and local agencies, corporations and committees and other public offices were conducted during this period, according to the report.