Sunday, 3 March, 2024
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EDITORIAL

No To Non-performers



Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota has issued a stern warning to the project implementers of the government not to accept budget money without concrete and functional plan of implementation. This warning is timely and relevant at a time when unspent budget and failure to implement projects have emerged as the problem nagging the development sector. Budgets getting allocated without a concrete plan of spending should be considered at the phase of budgetary planning and allocation itself. That will lead to a favourable condition where unspent budget will not heap up and projects will not remain unimplemented. Government apparatuses appointed to implement projects cannot go scot-free without executing the works that fall under their accountability. This rule must apply in all the levels and ministries of the government, be they at the federal or state or local level. That way the budget, where the taxpayers have made their contributions, will not have a chance to be misappropriated or unutilised.

Minister Baskota, who is also the spokesman of the government, has said that the state functionaries will have to come up with convincing plan of action to receive budget allocations. This arrangement will put a lid on budget allocation for those who are lackadaisical towards performing well to implement development projects on time. Budget money thus filtered can be channeled to other sectors where there more capable people at charting out work plans and implementing projects. Minister Baskota has threatened to pull out budget that get idle and unutilised in absence of functional plans of action. The ultimate consequence of such a working tendency is that the allocated budget gets frozen without meeting its targeted objective. Haphazard execution of projects without ample fore-thought and planning brings undesirable consequences. Delays are another anomaly that pushes back the pace of development in our country. We have so many projects that have been dragging for years and decades without completion. Ironically, budgets get allocated for such projects while the works fail to complete and overhead costs keep rising.

Minister Baskota was addressing the quarterly review meeting of projects and programmes on Wednesday when he asked concerned government officials to make sure that the allocated budgets are spent on the projects where they are meant to be spent. Failure to do that will result in the withdrawal of the allocation itself. Plans and programmes have to be executed strictly on a time-bound manner. This will put a brake on lazy tendencies and allow projects to linger without strict timeframe of implementation and completion. Minister Baskota has even talked of identifying the projects that have been standing in limbo without a sign of completion. He has sought the list of projects that cannot be completed within their deadline. For instance, 257 such projects have been retracted from the Ministry of Urban Development. Practically, the projects that cannot even take off within the first six months of the fiscal year cannot possibly complete in the following six months. So, it is futile to give them continuity. Moving with them is a sure recipe to delays and incompletion.