Cabinet puts on hold FinMin’s proposal

  • Separate body to oversee reconstruction works
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Cabinet puts on hold FinMin’s proposal

May 29, 2015-

Cabinet has put on hold a proposal of the Finance Ministry regarding the formation of a taskforce to prepare a draft of the reconstruction policy, law and a separate body for the reconstruction purpose. It has decided to introduce an ordinance to form the Disaster Management National Council.

Stressing the need for a separate body to handle the reconstruction process, the ministry had sent the proposal a week ago, according to officials. Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has long been insisting on the formation of such a for speedy recovery of the damaged infrastructure.  

“There should be a separate body just to handle the reconstruction purpose as a special purpose vehicle,” said a senior ministry official. “The reconstruction process cannot move ahead at a faster pace without a focussed agency.”

The official was not convinced that the cabinet’s decision of forming the Disaster Management National Council would help in the reconstruction process. “There is already an agency to look after the entire natural disasters. What we need now is a body to look only after reconstruction,” said the official. “Such a body should be given more power by amending the current Public Procurement Act.”

Shanta Raj Subedi, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Finance Ministry’s proposal is under consideration at the Cabinet. He said a meeting of the Reconstruction Consultation Committee headed by the Prime Minister, officials and experts, held on Wednesday, decided to give the responsibility of drafting the Act on disaster and reconstruction to Home and Law ministries.

“This is why, it seems, the Finance Ministry’s proposal has been kept on hold as the responsibility of drafting the Act has been handed over to the two ministries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Law Ministry officials said they would start drafting the new Act once the Cabinet clarifies on the new policy.

 “Although the country’s disaster strategy is already in place introduced six years ago, we are awaiting a clear direction on the new policy in the current context of a big earthquake,” said Tek Prasad Dhungana, spokesperson at the Law Ministry.

According to the officials, the Act could open the door forming a separate body for reconstruction too.

The Cabinet had decided to form the Disaster Management National Council giving more authority amid widespread complaints that the absence of a high-powered mechanism at the centre caused poor coordination among the state entities in relief, rescue and recovery efforts.

Earlier, the government had registered a bill at the Parliament Secretariat after the April 25 quake proposing to form the Disaster Management National Council chaired by the Prime Minister and co-chaired by the Home Minister. The Cabinet, however, decided to withdraw the bill to pave the way for the prompt formation an authority with more power.

Published: 30-05-2015 07:53

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