Who spent what on hospitality and entertainment?

Of the Nu 55.01 million (M) spent as hospitality and entertainment (HE) expenses in 2015-16 financial year, the former Prime Minister spent Nu 14.45M, according to the audit report Kuensel obtained.

Among the ministers, former health minister spent the highest expenses on HE. He spent Nu 5.26M. The minister for agriculture and forests had the least expense. He spent Nu 1.40M. (See graph)

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court spent Nu 4.55M. The former speaker Nu 3.66M and the former National Council chair Nu 2.69M on HE.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) pointed out that a substantial amount of funds were spent on payment of tips or soelra and gifts, which is Nu 16.04M.

The then Prime Minister spent Nu 1.83M on tips and soelras followed by the education minister, who spent Nu 1.17M. (See graph) The foreign minister spent Nu 130,000, the least.

While the former Speaker spent Nu 750,000 on tips and soelras, the former NC chair spent Nu 580,000 and the Chief Justice Nu 520,000.

The former Prime Minister also tops the list on expenses incurred on gifts with Nu 1.65M. The least spent was by the finance minister, Nu 70,000 (see graph).

Chief Justice spent Nu 1.04M on gifts, the former NC chairperson spent Nu 280,000 and the Speaker Nu 210,000.

Records available from the finance ministry’s annual financial statements, accounts and officials showed that the expenses on HE have been increasing over the years.

In the 10th Plan, Nu 491.801M was spent on HE. In the 11th Plan, it increased to Nu 650.681M.

For the ministers, Speaker, NC chairperson and Chief Justice, the HE expenses increased to Nu 213.48M in the 11th Plan from Nu 157.381M in the 10th Plan.

The HE expenses for the Prime Minister in the 10th Plan was Nu 51.69M, while in the 11th Plan, it decreased to Nu 42.815M.

However, the expenses for all ministers increased in the 11th Plan.

While the expenses for agriculture minister was Nu 10.447M in 10th Plan, it remained almost the same at Nu 10.573M in the 11th Plan. For the works and human settlement minister, the expenses were Nu 6.345M in 10th Plan, which increased to Nu 10.613M in the 11th Plan. The labour minister’s expenses more than doubled in the 11th Plan. It increased to Nu 14.327M in the 11th Plan from Nu 6.924M in the 10th Plan.

The education minister’s HE expenses increased from Nu 15.513M in the 10th Plan to Nu 16.657 in 11th Plan.  The expenses remained almost the same for home minister in the two plan periods from Nu 13.993 in the 10th Plan to Nu 13.265 in 11th Plan.

HE expenditure for finance minister also doubled in the 11th Plan from Nu 4.347M in the 10th Plan to Nu 8.311M. The foreign minister’s expenses for 10th Plan was Nu 1.068M and in 11th Plan, it was Nu 6.476M.

For the communications minister, HE expenses increased to Nu 14.047M in the 11th Plan from Nu 12.339M in the 10th Plan. The health minister’s expenses for 10th Plan was Nu 11.384M, which increased to Nu 14.368M in the 11th Plan.

HE expenses for NC chairperson increased three folds in the 11th Plan. From Nu 5.829M in the 10th Plan, the chairperson’s expenses increased to Nu 15.476M in the 11th Plan.

The expenses for NA speaker also doubled in the 11th Plan to Nu 11.605M from Nu 6.302M in the 10th Plan.

The expenses of the Chief Justice also increased by more than three folds in the 11th Plan, which is Nu 24.143M compared to Nu 7.693M in the 10th Plan.

Accounts and finance officers said that without a ceiling for the HE expenses, there are unnecessary expenditures made from the state coffer.

“These expenses are exclusive of the discretionary grant of Nu 300,000 each that officials receive annually,” an officer said. “The administrative and finance division of concerned ministries and agencies provide advances based on the estimates proposed by the ministers’ personal secretaries.”

Editor’s note: No figures were available on OL’s  expenses although he is listed as eligible for the grant. 

Tashi Dema

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