Kathmandu, May 6
It has been 12 days since contractors have stopped working on development projects commissioned by the government. Contractors, citing a hike in the price of construction materials, have stopped working on over 3,500 projects across the country.
This is quite worrisome as development work has completely stopped during the major season when these things should have moved forward at a rapid rate. While this is happening, the government has done nothing as all development works are in a state of coma.
The effects of this are being seen in the country’s economy too as it is facing a liquidity crisis with the capital expenditure not happening as much as it should have.
According to Financial Comptroller General Office, the country, after April 24, has only spent Rs 5.59 billion of the allotted capital expenditure, taking its total to Rs 107 billion. The government had planned to spend Rs 378 billion as capital expenditure. This is only 30 per cent of what it wants to spend as the government officials fear that the government will not be able to spend even 50 per cent of the money set aside as capital expenditure.
The reason for halting the project is the price hike. Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal‘s president Rabi Singh says the contractors will not restart projects until the government addresses the hike in prices of materials.
“We need the government to address this issue because we can’t work and incur losses,” says Singh. “We’ll only start work when the government will help us and pay us accordingly.”
Contractors say they have put their demands in front of ministers. Urban Development Minister Ram Kumari Jhakri has said she knows about the issue, adding their demands are being taken seriously.