Print Edition - 2015-05-07 | MONEY
Govt to ask donors for cash aid
May 6, 2015-
The government is in preparation to send request letters to the donors asking them to provide aid in cash for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
According to the Finance Ministry, most of the support announced by donors after the occurrence of the massive earthquake last Saturday were in the form of material and expertise and that very little or no cash has been deposited in the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. Funds by Bhutan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are the only cash aids that have been deposited in the relief aid so far.
At a press meet on Wednesday, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said: “The initial phase of rescue has made way for relief and reconstruction, and for that we are in need of monitory funds.”
“We are in plans on writing letters to donor within the next one or two days to request them to provide aid in cash,” he added.
According to the minister, cash aid has not been deposited—despite promises by the donors—because the expenditure of providing doctors, relief workers and other services have been included in their assistance amount.
“In terms of relief material, we still need tents, surgical equipments and basic food supplies at the moment,” said Mahat.
The government has announced the National Reconstruction Fund worth Rs200 billion and has already allocated Rs20 billion for the cause. Additional resources are expected to be contributed by donors.
A few days ago, the Finance Minister had appealed for increased donors’ assistance for reconstruction of damaged infrastructure at the annual general meeting of the ADB held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Finance Minister had sought $500 million for immediate relief and rehabilitation.
ADB has committed to provide additional $200 million, but whether the sum will be in the form of a grant or a loan has not been disclosed.
5pc GDP growth not possible: Mahat
Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has said that the targeted economic growth of five percent would not be achieved this fiscal year due to the damages caused by the earthquake, which has had adverse affects on the service sector.
“The earthquake will affect all sectors including tourism, industry and agriculture,” said Mahat. According to him, the government might even have to restructure the current budget to allocate necessary resources for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure. “As far as possible, I am not for restructuring the budget at the moment, but such a situation may arise given the extent of damages the quake has caused,” he added.
Published: 07-05-2015 08:47