UK-Nepal partnership: SuTRA, a digital solution to public finance management launched 

NL Today

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Kathmandu: UK Ambassador to Nepal Nicola Pollitt handed over Sub-national Treasury Regulatory Application, SuTRA,  the financial management software for local governments to the Government of Nepal today in an event organized in Kathmandu.

Financial Comptroller General Suman Aryal received the application.  

SuTRA is an initiation of the Government of Nepal, developed with financial support from the UK, to support all local governments to better manage their public finances. 

Local governments used to work on cumbersome excel sheets for planning programs and activities, allocating funds for the activities, keeping records of income and expenditure, and reporting to the Financial Comptroller General’s Office in varied formats before.  Now with SuTRA, they are able to project revenues, prepare the budget, approve the budget, keep accounts of funds from different sources, do expenditure accounting and reporting and check for issues like gender and social inclusion, climate change mitigation, and adaptation activities have been budgeted and conducted.

On the occasion, ambassador Pollitt said, “I have had the chance to observe how SuTRA has helped improve efficiency and transparency in Dhulikhel municipality. Nepal should be proud to have a homegrown application helping ensure accountability and transparency in public financial management across its 753 local governments.” 

The Ministry of Finance led the development of SuTRA through the Financial Comptroller General’s Office and Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Secretariat, with input from key government agencies such as the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.

SuTRA has helped improve the quality of financial data enabling evidence-based planning and budgeting. For example, budgeting for gender and social inclusion can be made more targeted and useful through the use of SuTRA as it requires budgeting at the activity level.

Financial Comptroller General Suman Aryal said, “SuTRA has saved both time and money for the federal as well as the local governments in managing public finances. Generally, monitoring has become easier for the federal government, and reporting and running day-to-day service delivery has become efficient for local governments.”

SuTRA’s development began in 2017 when the first local elections were held under the federal setup. The application has been refined over the years, addressing the needs of local governments and the Financial Comptroller’s Office. It currently has 13 modules and sub-modules. SuTRA was approved by the Council of Ministers for use in all local governments in 2019.

Participants of the event appreciated the role of the governments of the UK and Nepal for making this digital solution to public finance management possible.  

“SuTRA has made it easier to plan and formulate budget at the local level.  The system helps keep the accounts of the expenses,” said Hom Narayan Shrestha, Chair of the National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal (NARMIN). “We had to keep the records in big registers. With this app, documentation and archiving have become much easier.  It has also made the reporting system and record management system easier. It has time and ensured transparency. It has actually helped to maintain transparency at all of 753 local governments.”

Likewise, Bhim Prasad Dhungana, Mayor of Nilkantha Municipality and General Secretary of Municipal Association of Nepal (MUAN), said Sutra has given solutions to the problems of public finance management. “This is very good and useful,” he said.