General

Deal with govt must for I/NGOs’ involvement

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, KATHMANDU

Jun 1, 2015-

The Cabinet has made it mandatory for institutions and individuals willing to participate in reconstruction works to sign a bilateral agreement with the government.

According to Madhu Marasini, chief of the international economic cooperation coordination division at the Finance Ministry, the directive will remain in effect for the next six months from the date of the Cabinet decision last week.

According to officials, the move is aimed at ensuring transparency in the aid collected to help the earthquake victims.

“We have heard that billions of rupees have been raised to help the victims. But we have no specific details and idea how it is being used,” he said.

The Cabinet last week endorsed the “Directives on Mobilising Assistance of National and International Non-Government Organi-sations-2015” which says institutions and individuals, particularly I/NGOs, could mobilise their funds as specified by the agreement they sign with the government.

The directive covers I/NGOs, welfare institutions, companies and individuals willing to support the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure related to education, health and housing before monsoon.

“They will be encouraged to deposit cash to the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund,” says the directive.

If they want to spend it themselves, they will have to build the infrastructure in Turn Key basis (project is handed over to the government after completion).

Those willing to provide commodity aid are also required to sign a deal.

These contributors outside the government would have to construct the infrastructure based on the procedure, norms, standards and design fixed by the line ministry in places designated by the government. “They will have to mobilise their resources based on the parameters set by the Post Disaster Needs Assessment,” reads the directive. Officials said the same norms and standards will apply for houses to be built by government agencies and I/NGOs so that the victims feel they are treated equally.

However, I/NGOs complain that the government’s move to control their efforts has not always brought good results.

Ashutosh Tiwari, former chairman of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal, said the move may be well-intentioned but the bureaucratic procedure hinders work.

“I/NGOs will face the risk of their funds freezing,” said Tiwari. “The government should consult with them how it could facilitate implementation.”

According to the directive, the organisations will have to manage the resources from their core funding and donations cannot be collected after signing the agreement.

“The agreement will be scrapped if this provision is flouted,” states the directive.

According to the document, I/NGOs will have to start work within a week of agreement. They will have to complete the work within the agreed timeframe and hand over the project to the government.

In reconstruction, they will have to use Nepali experts and materials as long as they are available. They will have to seek approval to employ foreign experts.

While building facilities for schools, hospitals and health posts, the donors cannot mark religious, cultural and communal signs on the structures.

In line with the Development Cooperation Policy-2014, aid agencies should not involve in activities that threaten national security, integrity and sovereignty and geopardise religious, ethnic and social harmony.

Those signing the agreement will have to submit details of aid commitment and expenditures to the Aid Management Platform, a software installed in the Finance Ministry to keep track of foreign aid coming in.

Donors in reconstruction

- Provision applies to I/NGOs, welfare institutions, firms and individuals willing to aid reconstruction of damaged infrastructure

- Facilities to be handed over to government after construction

- I/NGOs say bureaucratic procedure hinders work

- Organisations to manage resources from their core funding; donations cannot be collected after signing the agreement

- Nepali experts and materials to be used as long as they are available. Approval necessary to employ foreign experts

- Details of aid commitment and expenditures to be submitted to Aid Management Platform

Published: 01-06-2015 07:15

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