The Gewogs have utilized the highest expenditure against the revised cumulative budget, followed by the Dzongkags as of Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP).
The MTR of the FYP is conducted after two and half years of the FYP implementation. The MTR is mainly to review the status of the planned programs, discuss implementation issues, challenges and provide mid-course recommendations.
Out of the Nu 50bn outlay allocated to the Local Governments (LGs) in the 12th FYP, Nu 16.81bn has been reported as expenditure as of April 30th, 2021.
According to the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) annual report 2020-2021, the financial progress of LGs as of June 2021, Nu 12bn outlay was allocated to Gewogs out of which Nu 6.33bn budget was allocated and utilized Nu 6.06bn.
Similarly, Nu 10.12bn outlay was allocated to the Thromdes, out of which Nu 4.6bn budget was allocated and Nu 3.2bn was utilized.
Nu 27.33bn outlay was allocated to the Dzongkhags, out of which Nu 17.93bn budget was allocated and Nu 13.15bn was utilized.
The gewogs reported the highest expenditure, which is 70.76% against the revised cumulative budget, followed by the Dzongkhags with 57.26% and the Thromdes with 54.57%.
The overall expenditure against the initial plan outlay for the LGs during the MTR is reported at 33.62%. Gewogs have utilized 37.32%, followed by Dzongkhag 35.83%, and Thromdes 25.08%.
The Chief of the Local Development Division of the GNHC, Tandin Wangmo said that the highest spending of the Gewogs’ budget is in the agriculture and livestock sector with 46.7%, followed by civil 17.9%, religion and culture 13.7%, education 11.96% and health 9.7%.
She said that the majority of the projects undertaken by the Gewogs are the construction of infrastructure such as farm roads, irrigation channels, and rural water supply schemes.
She said that since Gewogs have been empowered to utilize their resources provided it is aligned with the 12th Plan objectives, these activities are undertaken based on their priorities and developmental needs in the communities.
As some Gewogs have utilized 70% against the revised cumulative budget till the MTR of the 12th FYP, so does that mean that they will complete the planned activities ahead of the 12th FYP or they will have limited budget for the remaining financial years?
The chief said that most of the major projects in the Gewogs are reported to be already initiated and are ongoing with a major portion of the funds already being utilized. Thus, in the remaining plan period, they will be working towards completing the spillover activities, and as such there won’t be any issue on insufficient funds for the remaining financial years.
“Moreover, Gewogs still have an average of 10% of the outlay left or provisioned for the last FY to implement their priority projects,” she said.
Further, the report states that as of June 30, 2021, the overall expenditure of LGs excluding the Thromdes was 48.88% against the 12th FYP approved outlay for LGs. In terms of financial progress including Gewog’s expenditure, Gasa has the highest capital expenditure with 62.04%, followed by Mongar 59.77% and Tsirang 59.09%.
On the other hand, Samdrup Jongkhar has the least capital expenditure with 38.95%, followed by Wangdue with 42.73% and Chukha with 42.75%.
Meanwhile, some of the major issues highlighted by the LGs during the MTR were the shortage of construction workers and construction materials and lack of adequate human resources, particularly teachers and medical professionals affecting delivery of critical public services.
It was also stated that they faced coordination challenges with central agencies and issues with the private contractors.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu