KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Lack of full-fledged budget for 2012/13 has affected multiple high priority programs such as constructions of strategic bridges and feasibility study of special economic zones (SEZ) in different districts as concerned ministries are facing difficulties in starting the tender process.
"Owing to the limit of one-third budget, we could not invite bid for the development of strategic bridges," said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM).
That is not all. He said the absence of full-fledged budget has also hit its periodic maintenance of roads. "This is certain to slow the maintenance works," he told Republica.
Technically, provisions under existing one-third budget do not restrict ministries from inviting tenders. However, such effort turns futile because in the absence of predicatbility of the continuity of the program and clear budget allocations, contractors simply cold shoulder the bid calls.
"We will have to wait till the full-fledged budget for starting those programs," said Sitaula.
The government was scheduled to implement the strategic bridge project from this year with financial support of US$ 60 million received from the World Bank. Under the project, agreement on which was signed in the last fiscal year, the government aims to develop 100 strategic bridges in different parts of the country.
But leave apart the construction of new bridges, Sitaula indicated that regular programs such as periodic maintenance of roads too could be postponed to the last quarter of the fiscal year owing to delay in tender call.
Similarly, officials at the Ministry of Industry (MoI) said they have faced a problem in awarding the tender for the feasibility study of the SEZ in three districts due to lack of full-fledged budget for the fiscal year.
The ministry had selected three contractors to carry out the feasibility study of the SEZ in the three districts -- Dhanusha, Siraha and Rauthat -- at the end of last fiscal year. But it had failed to strike agreements with them then.
"We requested the finance ministry officials to understand the situation and arrange budget so that we could seal the deals with the selected contractors," a high-ranking official at the MoI said. "Sadly, MoF refused to do so."
The source said the lack of full-fledged budget has also affected the construction of SEZ in other places such as Bharatpur, Jumla and Kapilbastu where feasibility study is going on.
"We just have Rs 10 million under the heading of SEZ and this is simply insufficient to complete constructions in Simara and Bhairahawa," the official said.