Over 1.5 billion Nepal poll budget goes down the drain

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Kathmandu, Oct 17 (UNI) The Nepal government incurred a loss of more than Rs 1.5 billion due to the postponement of the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls in the country.

Releasing an expenditure report, the Election Commission (EC) said it spent over Rs 510 million and various donor communities used over Rs 540 million for election related activities.

The government had released Rs 287.1 million from its annual budget of Rs 1.911 billion for election purposes, and the Commission had already spent Rs 118 million.

Out of Rs 1.28 billion allocated in fiscal year 2006/007 the Commission had spent Rs 234 million to update the electoral rolls.

Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel said the preliminary estimate of the total expenditure to date at the center and district level was Rs 281 million.

Various countries including India, China, the US, UK, Japan, Denmark, Austria, Canada, Norway and Korea and the international donor agencies, provided technical and logistic assistance worth Rs 540 million.

Mr Pokharel said the international assistance provided for different social and non-government organisations to launch civic education and voter education campaigns across the country was yet to receive allocations.

In order to carry out voters' education programmes by mobilising over 8,400 volunteer, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had released Rs 121 million from its Peace Trust Fund. Similarly, the ministry had released Rs 118 million to train over 234,025 staff and volunteers needed to conduct the polls, whereas the EC had already spent Rs 123 million for the above mentioned purpose, the report stated.

The Election Commission had allocated Rs 32.65 million for a media campaign across the country. More than 940,000 billboards, stickers and posters and 1,800,000 pamphlets and 3,682,270 invitation cards were printed for the voter education campaign.

Though the budget meant for institutional capacity building and several logistic items could be used in future, but those documents prepared for the mixed electoral polls on November 22 would be wasted if the government decided to adopt a different electoral system.

Meanwhile, 24 non-government organisations have already received Rs 162.11 million from different foreign donors to launch media and voter education campaign across the country. Other NGOs, allowed to observe the election, have received over Rs 90 million for the purpose.

UNI

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