Kathmandu, 24 July: No matter whatever problems are encountered in Nepali missions abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to be apathetic in solving them. An example of this more than enough as two houses and 846 square meters of land owned by the Nepal government in Bonn, Germany, has been lying unused for 21 years.
Even though it has been unused for more than two decades, the state continues to pay for the house and land. According to this year’s report of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), 8,626 euro have been spent on the security, electricity and water charges for the dilapidated building. It has been many years since the OAG raised questions about the property of Nepal in Bonn. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not been able to sell the building and land, nor lease it.
“Because every year expenditure is being spent on underutilized real property, more than 18.6 million rupees have been spent on it,” the report of the OGA has pointed out. Though the OGA suggested that the property should be sold or leased or other appropriate measures should be taken as soon as possible, the government has not paid any attention to it.
Likewise, Government of Nepal owns three buildings in Washington D.C., namely Chancery Building, Staff Residence and Ambassador’s Residence. Of this, 40,726 square feet of land on which the ambassador’s residence is located, about 30,000 square feet of land at the back of the three-storey building is unused, according to the OGA report. According to the report, additional financial liability has been created due to insurance for old vehicles and other unused goods in foreign missions.
Most of the Nepali embassies abroad have weak financial discipline and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has become a mute spectator to the irregularities of its subordinate bodies that has to solve the policy and practical problems seen in the mission, writes Santosh Ghimire in nepalkhabar.com. Currently, there are forty Nepali missions abroad including thirty embassies, seven consulates and three permanent missions. Out of forty missions, only nine embassy offices and eleven ambassador residences are owned by the government.
The rest have been run in rented buildings. Although it is the policy of the Government of Nepal to purchase and construct buildings for missions, only the purchase of land for Rs 527.7 million has been done in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. According to the report, Rs. 906 million was spent on house/apartment rent for the missions in the last one year. It has pointed out that the land purchased in the past to build non-residential buildings in five places including Canberra in Australia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Islamabad in Pakistan and Beijing in China has been unused for a long time.
People’s News Monitoring Service