Thukten Zangpo 

The capital budget for this fiscal year 2022-23 was revised by 4.79 percent to Nu 40.31 billion (B) as compared to the approved budget of Nu 38.47B.

This, according to the finance ministry’s first quarter budget report, is an increase of Nu 1.84B.

The fiscal year (the last year under the 12th five-year Plan) has allocated about 52 percent of the total budget as capital budget. It is more than the current expenditure, unlike in the past.

Presenting the State of the Nation in the Parliament on December 8, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that more capital budget has to be allocated than the current budget if the country’s economy must progress.

An increase in the capital budget was because of incorporation of Nu 1.8B external grants, Nu 23.96 million (M) internal grants, and Nu 15.61M re-appropriated from the current to capital budget, the ministry’s report stated.

In the first three months (July-September) of this fiscal year, the capital budget (excluding lending and repayment) utilisation was reported at about 10 percent or Nu 3.92B of the total capital budget. This means, 90 percent of the capital budget remains to be utilised in the next three quarters.

Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the capital expenditure (excluding lending and repayment) in the quarter saw a slight decrease of 0.1 percent.

The ministry’s report stated that the decrease in capital expenditure was on account of rationalisation measures put in place to reduce wasteful and non-economic spending. “As such, expenditure on training, awareness and procurement of vehicles, plants, equipment, office furniture has decreased compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.”

Current expenditure

Similarly, the current expenditure utilisation saw over a two percent increase in the first quarter at Nu 9.1B compared to the same period in the previous year.

The report shows that as a result of the budget rationalisation, the expenditure under operation and management decreased by 24 percent. The government’s subsidies and grants to various sectors decreased by 2 percent.

However, salaries and wages increased by 11 percent, and expenditure on interest increased by 5 percent.

The current budget was also revised to Nu 36.44B from the Nu 36.34B approved budget. It saw an increase of Nu 99.1M. The increase was mainly because of the supplementary incorporation of thromde funds amounting to Nu 95M and Nu 19.7M for the National Seed Centre.

The government provided Nu 60.81M to various budgetary agencies for Covid-19 containment measures by the end of first quarter. Of this, Nu 55.78M was transferred from the General Reserve and Nu 5.04M was directly incorporated under respective budgetary bodies that were received from the donors.