Saturday, February 24, 2018

Government reduces number of ministries from 29 to 17 and more

The government’s decision to downsize the number of ministries from 29 to 17 will enhance efficiency and lessen the burden on state coffers even if the move does not suffice to sustain funding in the federal structure, officials have said. Officials said the decision will enhance the efficacy of the government, will improve governance and cut state expenditures, among others. But experts point to a more pressing problem—of huge costs in the provinces and the local level. They suggest that the government look for ways to curb regular expenditures in the federal units.

Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM)
  1. Ministry of Finance
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. Ministry of Defense
  4. Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport
  5. Ministry of Health and Population
  6. Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration
  7. Ministry of Information and Communications
  8. Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
  9. Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
  10. Ministry of Education and Sports
  11. Ministry of Home Affairs
  12. Ministry of Forest and Environment
  13. Ministry of Water Resources and Energy
  14. Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies
  15. Ministry of Labor, Employment, Women and Children
  16. Ministry of Urban Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation
  17. Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperatives and Land Management

At this rate of work, it will take another eight years to upgrade Bhairahawa airport to an international airport

The much-delayed international airport project in Bhairahawa has achieved a measly 10 percent physical progress in 2017, and if it continues at the same rate, it would take another 8 years to finish, the project financer Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday. The ADB has expressed concern over the slow performance of the contractor of the Gautam Buddha Airport, which is being upgraded into an international facility, and has raised doubts that the project would be completed by the extended deadline of June 2019. The multilateral development finance institution has already informed the government that it would not be able to finance the project further after its initial deadline in December 2017, in view of its slow progress. However, it has been weighing options that if the contractor improves its performance until mid-March, the project’s financing could continue, according to the officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan)—the project’s executing agency.

On November 13, 2013, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) awarded the Rs6.22 billion contract to upgrade the airport to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group. Of the total project cost, the ADB has provided $58.50 million ($42.75 in loans and $15.75 million in grants), the Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) has provided a $15 million loan and Caan will bear the rest of the cost as counterpart funding. The national pride project has been envisaged to serve the fast-rising business and industrial hub of Bhairahawa and facilitate international pilgrimage tourism to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.

Poor get identity cards only

The government is planning to distribute “poor ID cards” to those falling below the poverty line. However, there is no concrete plan yet to provide them with social security allowance, medical insurance, skills training, essential goods at subsidized rate, and free education among others. 

The government will distribute such ID cards to poor people from five villages of five districts within this month. It has already done survey in 25 districts. The five villages are Bhagwanpur (1886, Siraha), Fikkal (1604, Sindhuli), Nishikhola (1563, Baglung), Swamikratrik (1638, Bajura) and Mohanyal (2386, Kailali). The government aims to distribute such ID cards to 391,831 poor people identified in 25 districts. The total number of poor people is estimated to be around 1.9 million.