Local elections 2022 likely to beat spending records

Finance Ministry allocates more than 14.5 billion for May 13 election excluding army expenses

Raghab Sharma

March 16, 2022


Local elections 2022 likely to beat spending records

KATHMANDU: The local elections to be held on May 13 is likely to see unprecedented spending of Rs 14.5 billion, barring army expenses, making it an expensive election in the country’s history by a large margin.

The country is likely to spend more than double of 2017 local election to bear the election expenses in May this year.

The Ministry of Finance is providing Rs. 14.5 billion to various bodies this time.

The Ministry will make money available to the Election Commission, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force Nepal and National Investigation Department, according to Dhundi Prasad Niraula, Spokesperson at the Ministry.

“No decision has been made on how much money will be provided to the Nepal Army for the local elections. The army has sent a proposal, which is under discussion now,” he said.

The concerned bodies have already requested the Ministry of Finance to arrange the necessary budget soon after the government announced to hold the local level election on May 13.

According to Niraula, the government has decided to provide Rs 8.11 billion to the Election Commission for the local level election.

Similarly, the EC said that budget will be required for mobilizing health workers and managing health supplies to comply with health safety protocols.

Similarly, the government is likely to provide Rs. 6.29 billion to the Ministry of Home Affairs to transfer it to Nepal Police and Armed Police Force.

Likewise, the National Investigation Department will be provided Rs. 35 million for the election purpose.

Earlier in 2017, the Election Commission had asked for a budget of Rs 7.28 billion for the local elections held in three phases.

In the local level election of 2017, the Election Commission had spent Rs. 6.339 billion in the first and second phases and Rs. 945.2 million in the third phase. The election expense is estimated to go more than double this time.

However, Election Commission Spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Poudel has claimed that the Commission has curtailed the cost as far as possible.

“We have worked our best to minimize the election cost,” he said, adding, “We have revised and reduced the logistics and also deducted the amenities of the staffs to be deployed.”

The election body said that a 30 percent increment in the earlier budget has been estimated as most of the election expenses will be spent on salaries and allowances and other facilities to the personnel to be deployed in the elections.

The budget will increase in the same proportion for polling stations and booths and ballot papers, EC estimated.

The Commission states that expenditure will increase due to the need for additional materials and manpower to make voter education technology-friendly, comprehensive, and effective.

The Commission also stated that around two million voters have been added after the last elections.

Similarly, the EC said that budget will be required for mobilizing health workers and managing health supplies to comply with health safety protocols.

However, past experiences show that the cost of the election has been going high due to the purchase of luxury vehicles and extravagant seminars and visits.

More than Rs 112 million was used to buy luxury cars in the 2017 election although luxury vehicles worth more had been purchased one year before.