Nepali gov't moves to curb foreign visits by officials

12:25, June 19, 2010      

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The Nepali government has started cracking the whip on what it terms "useless" foreign trips by government officials through misuse of foreign as well as domestic resources, local media reported on Saturday.

According to report, the government has asked donor agencies in Nepal to cooperate over this matter.

Sources familiar with developments informed that both the government and donors were compelled to take steps to curb a growing trend of en mass foreign trips by government officials, a majority of them with donor money.

"It is a joint collaboration of the government and donors to stop 'disturbing misuses' of resources meant for the poor of Nepal, " said a source. The steps include denying visas and concurrence letters even for visits under programs that donors had earlier agreed to.

In this regard, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently communicated with major donor agencies and foreign embassies in the capital to raise its concern over foreign visits and their impact on national coffers.

"It is disturbing that a large number of government employees, including senior officials, are using all possible means to make meaningless foreign trips at a time when they were supposed to be spending their energies formulating plans and programs for the coming fiscal years," said the source.

In a series of recent developments, the World Bank declined to issue no objection letters to 40 officials from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction who were planning to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka in three different groups. All three visits were supposed to be funded with World Bank money earmarked for the Emergency Peace Support Program.

Peace Ministry Secretary Punya Prasad Neupane confirmed to that the World Bank withheld concurrence letters for the trips after MoF raised objections.

Last month alone, 29 officials from the Ministry of Education went abroad. Currently, nearly two dozen officials from the Ministry of Health are abroad.

Source: Xinhua


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