Province 4 the exception as others dole out budget to lawmakers

Provinces have allocated budget to the lawmakers with some allowing them to spend it themselves while others requiring a committee to spend it.

Province 5 has allocated Rs 705 million for its 52 provincial constituencies to be spent equally. The lawmakers can select up to two physical infrastructure projects from the amount. Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel, who has also been heading the finance ministry, has allocated budget to the lawmakers in an indirect manner to please them.

Lawmakers in Province 1 can select projects of up to Rs 20 million in each constituency.

Lawmakers in Province 2, meanwhile, can spend up to Rs 7.50 million. A committee to be headed by directly elected lawmaker can spend Rs 5 million while all the lawmakers will get Rs 2.50 million each.

Lawmaker of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP) Manish Suman said lawmakers have been demanding that the amount be increased while endorsing the budget.

The budget in Province 3 does not mention allocation of funds to lawmakers. Lawmaker of Bibeksheel Sajha Party Ramesh Paudel said the party is vigilant after hearing rumors that funds will be provided in some pretext through the Appropriation Bill.

Province 7 has allocated Rs 20 million to each constituency to be spent through a committee headed by the eldest executive officer of the local bodies there. Parliamentary party leader of Nepali Congress (NC) Ran Bahadur Rawal said provincial assembly members will select projects by staying in the committee.

Province 4, however, has not given money to lawmakers. Minister for Financial Affairs and Planning Kiran Gurung said he has brought the budget defying intense pressure from lawmakers demanding money to be spent by them.

“There was pressure saying they should also be given money as doled out elsewhere,” Gurung told Setopati. “I told them that they have formed the government which will oversee development and governance, and asked them to formulate laws to help the government in that.”

He added that the budget was prepared by including all kinds of programs for all the local levels in each constituency. “Budget has been allocated proportionally for roads, drinking water, education, health and other sectors in all local bodies,” he stated.

“Big projects have also been allocated proportionally to constituencies. Why should we allocate additional funds when we have made allocations for the projects for which they demand budget,” he argued.

The federal budget presented on May 29 had also allocated budget allowing directly elected lawmakers to select five projects worth up to Rs 40 million in their respective constituencies.



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