KATHMANDU, Jan 20: Although the government has put infrastructure development in its high priority, it is failing to track progress status of 74 priority-I (P1) and three national pride projects.
The 28th meeting of the National Development Problem Resolution Committee (NDPRC) chaired by Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai on Sunday couldn´t show how 27 percent of 282 P1 projects and three national pride projects are faring.
"Unfortunately, we haven´t received progress reports of 74 P1 projects and three national pride projects from different ministries,"
Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry, vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC) said, presenting status of 751 projects that are currently under implementation.
More than 50 percent of the P1 projects that have not reported their status are under the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM). According to the Kshetry, other P1 projects that have not submitted progress report fall under Ministry of Industry (MoI), Ministry of Energy (MoE) and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD).
The implementation situation of 17 national pride projects is quite dismal. The government has just made 35 percent financial and 40 percent physical progress on the national pride projects over the first four months of 2012/13.
The government officials have highlighted different reasons such as land acquisition, weak coordination among line ministries, lack of cooperation from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and NPC as the major reasons behind slow progress of national pride projects.
Speaking at the meeting, Chief Secretary Lila Mani Paudel said political parties were creating hurdles in land acquisition at the local level. “Local leaders of different political parties are forcing the government to set higher evaluation rate for land acquisition,” he added. “We can´t speed up project implementation unless such tendency is brought to an end.”
Paudel said implementation of donor funded projects is affected due to improper use of resources. “Unnecessary parachute-consultants, expensive vehicles and lack of transparency are putting some of those projects in jeopardy," Paudel said, adding: "It´s high time we forced our donor agencies to follow our own procurement policy."
The government has even failed to keep track of projects that were already planned and started by previous governments. The dismal performance of the concerned agencies to implement national pride projects such as Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, Mid-Hill Highway, East-West Railway, Postal Highway, North-South Highway, Melamchi Drinking Water Project, and Bhairawa Regional Airport, among others drew attention of the attention of Prime Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai.
"It´s unfortunate that even the implementation of national projects have remained quite disappointing," Bhattarai said in the meeting. "I ask all the ministries and top level officials to work in time to implement the national pride projects."
In yet another setback to the government, capital expenditure over the first four months of 2012/13 remained at just 15 percent of total Rs 62 billion. "The capital expenditure is pretty low as most of the high level officials from different ministries are busy in foreign visits and not paying attention to development activities," Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said. "The recurrent expenditure is high in almost all the ministries."
Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun said none of the ministry has made appreciable progress. “We have to focus on capital expenditure," Pun said in the meeting.