One-third budget situation blamed
KATHMANDU, Sept 12: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has cold-shouldered a request by the Foreign Ministry to release Rs 10.7 million to cover the expenses of the Nepalese delegation to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), citing the one-third budget situation in the country.
Officials said the Finance Ministry has expressed inability to release the budget as they are required to limit government expenses to one-third of the total expenditure incurred last fiscal year, as per an ordinance passed earlier.
The foreign ministry has already spent the one-third budget allocated for the ministry.
Finance Ministry officials said they are under pressure to limit expenses as they are not authorized to spend more than one-third of the total budget although the government has huge cash reserves.
"The one-third budget situation has its own limitations. What we have been saying is whether or not all government agencies are going to act responsibly in this kind of special circumstance," said Joint Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi, who heads the Budget Division at the Finance Ministry.
A Nepalese delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankazi Shrestha is scheduled to leave for New York on September 22 to attend the UNGA. MoFA officials, however, said preparations for the trip have not started as the ministry is yet to get the budget sanctioned by the Finance Ministry.
The delegation led by Minister Shrestha will include eight member leaving from Nepal and six others who will join them in New York. "We have sought consent from the Finance Ministry for the necessary expenses," said Joint Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat, who is also the chief of protocol.
With the political parties failing to reach consensus, the current Baburam Bhattarai government had failed to introduce a full budget for fiscal year 2012/13.
As differences persist among the parties despite a series of negotiations, there are fears that the government will not be able to meet even essential expenditures in the coming months.