Ge­wog De­vel­op­ment Grant has no eco­nomic value to lo­cal­ity : Royal Au­dit Author­ity

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The Royal Au­dit Author­ity (RAA) has found most of the ac­tiv­i­ties im­ple­mented un­der Ge­wog De­vel­op­ment Grants are of no eco­nomic value to the lo­cal­ity.

The RAA in its “Meet Your Au­di­tors’ press con­fer­nece held last Wed­nes­day pre­sented the An­nual Au­dit Re­port 2015 which was tabled in the Par­lia­ment on 30th June 2016.

The ar­ti­cle 25.1 of the con­sti­tu­tion of the king­dom of Bhutan 2008 and sec­tion 3 of the Au­dit Act of Bhutan 2006 state that, “there shall be a Royal Au­dit Author­ity to au­dit and re­port on the econ­omy, ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness in the use of pub­lic re­sources.”

The Ge­wog De­vel­op­ment Grant is one of the im­por­tant ini­tia­tives of the gov­ern­ment started in 2013 for de­vel­op­ment project in the community. It was aimed at giv­ing fi­nan­cial flex­i­bil­ity to all gewogs which would go a long way in help­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments func­tion in­de­pen­dently.

The to­tal bud­get of Nu.2.00 mil­lion (M) per an­num to each ge­wog has pro­vided with full dis­cre­tion in us­ing the grant for its spe­cific lo­cal needs and pri­or­i­ties.

The per­for­mance re­port on GDG states that as of June 2015, bud­get of Nu.820.61 M were pro­vided to 205 gewogs for the last two fi­nan­cial years (2013-14 and 2014-15). The bud­get of Nu.799.03 M was spent on 2,181 small ac­tiv­i­ties that are sim­i­lar to nor­mal planned ac­tiv­i­ties where Nu.21.58 left un­used to im­ple­ment. The re­view GDG ac­tiv­i­ties showed that more than 2,355 ac­tiv­i­ties were pro­posed. Against th­ese, 2,205 ac­tiv­i­ties had been ap­proved and 2,181 were im­ple­mented.

Many farm roads were not found pli­able and the re­port high­lighted poor qual­ity of works im­ple­mented un­der GDG due to no proper mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nism in im­ple­men­ta­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties and trans­fer of own­er­ship for as­serts cre­ated thereby lack­ing proper main­tence. “The uti­liza­tion of grants for farm roads found not effective as the ac­tual con­struc­tion with lim­ited bud­get re­sulted in poor qual­ity of roads pro­vid­ing no value for the money in cre­at­ing such in­fra­struc­tures,” the re­port stated.

For in­stance, from 2,181 im­ple­mented ac­tiv­i­ties, more than 566 were re­lated to con­struc­tion/ ren­o­va­tion of farm roads, fol­lowed by re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion or pro­tec­tion of ru­ral wa­ter sup­ply schemes ( RWSS) and ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels. The im­ple­mented ac­tiv­i­ties also in­clude main­te­nance works re­lated to schools, Lhakhangs, Chort­ens, crea­ma­tion ground and ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels.

The RAA’s per­for­mance au­dit re­port on GDG states that a size­able amount of pub­lic re­sources was spent on ac­tiv­i­ties hav­ing no long-term im­pact. The RAA found that ad­min­is­tra­tion and ge­wog tshogde mem­bers had al­lo­cated bud­get for ac­tiv­i­ties with no long-term im­pact in ab­sence of such pro­vi­sions. The RAA has recom­manded the gov­ern­ment re­view the ex­ist­ing GDG sys­tem and to ali­gin ac­tiv­i­ties ex­e­cuted through GDG with that of longterm na­tional goals.

The RAA re­viewed pro­grams and ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out un­der the GDG in 205 Gewogs.

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