First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the progress of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) in fiscal year 2019/2020.
Addressing a virtual press meet today organised to publish the annual progress report of MoCTCA, Minister Bhattarai said that the work progress of last fiscal year was not satisfactory and the ministry would have achieved a lot if only the pandemic had not hit the country.
“By this time the construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) would have been completed while the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign would have been conducted in a grand way,” he said, adding, “However, the coronavirus pandemic obstructed our works.”
The ministry has spent only 60 per cent of the total budget allocated to it in the last fiscal year. The total budget for MoCTCA in the last fiscal was Rs 21.21 billion. As per Bhattarai, the ministry could not work and spend any budget allocated for any project from December till July.
As per the progress report, MoCTCA could not spend a large chunk of the budget allotted for Nijgadh International Airport and payments of GBIA were also halted. Thus, financial progress was not satisfactory.
Despite the unsatisfactory progress, MoCTCA has made some improvements in the infrastructure sector.
As per the report of MoCTCA, national pride projects under the ministry have achieved good progress. For example, Pashupati Area Development Project has achieved 70 per cent progress while Lumbini Development Fund achieved 95 per cent, GBIA achieved 85 per cent, and Pokhara International Airport achieved 61 per cent progress so far.
“It is a success for us to be able to continue with infrastructure development projects even in such a crucial situation,” Minister Bhattarai said. “In the next three to six months GBIA will be ready for commercial operation,” he informed.
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