Donors to pledge more aid at upcoming meet

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Donors to pledge more aid at upcoming meet

Jun 1, 2015-

Various donor agencies have said they will pledge more aid to Nepal at the international donors’ conference scheduled to be held in Kathmandu to reconstruct the infrastructure damaged by the recent earthquake, their representatives said Monday.

They also promised high-level representation at the meeting slated for June 25 which will be held under the banner International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction and the theme Towards Resilience.

Speaking at the Local Donors’ Meeting held inside a tent at the premises of the Finance Ministry, donor representatives also supported the timing of the conference saying that they acknowledged that the Nepal government should get aid commitments before the budget presentation for the next fiscal year which starts in mid-July.

A World Bank (WB) Country Director for Nepal Johannes Zutt said that they had planned to reallocate undisbursed resources to the reconstruction effort. “We have such resources worth $850 million,” said Zutt. The total WB portfolio currently stands at $1.3 billion.

According to an official of the WB, the global lender can allocate around 10-20 percent of such undisbursed funds to the reconstruction efforts within the same sector so that the government can receive the resources immediately. “We will replenish the reallocated resources later,” said Zutt.

The WB also plans to provide budget support to Nepal in the amount of $100 million under the third of Development Policy Credit (DPC), a sharp increase from the $50 million planned earlier. Budgetary support is a type of aid which the government can utilize in whatever programme it sees fit without asking the donors.

The official said that the WB would also provide an additional $100 million for house reconstruction and livelihood programmes. These proposals will be presented to the WB’s board meeting on June 29 for its endorsement.

Likewise, another multilateral donor the Asian Development Bank has promised additional financing of $200 million while putting aside $3 million for the rescue and relief of earthquake victims. “We can increase the aid based on the report of the Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA),” said ADB Country Director for Nepal Kenichi Yokoyama. According to him, reallocating existing undisbursed resources for reconstruction purposes is also on cards.  

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has urged the donors not to limit their aid to Nepal to the reallocation of existing resources. “We want the donors to be generous and provide as much aid as possible to support Nepalis in this crisis,” he said.

Although the PDNA will give a clearer picture of the resources needed for reconstruction, the government’s preliminary estimate of the earthquake damage is $5-10 billion which is 25-50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

During the meeting, a representative from the European Union (EU) said that the EU had already allocated $64.5 million to support Nepal’s earthquake victims. “We will announce additional support during the planned international donors’ conference,” the EU delegate said.

Similarly, the Indian representative at the meeting said that the southern neighbour was ready to provide the best possible support to Nepal as wished by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

UN Resident Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said that the conference would be helpful in holding a strategic discussion on supporting Nepal as well as increasing aid to the country.

While donors have promised increased support to Nepal’s reconstruction, it has raised doubts about its and the implementing agency’s implementation capacity. The government has planned to form a separate agency to handle reconstruction activities and donors have expressed concern about its structure. They also emphasized the need for incorporating livelihood issues and local participation in the reconstruction process.

The Japanese representative said that infrastructure rehabilitation and people’s livelihood should be taken care of. “There should be earthquake resilient city planning,” said the Japanese representative. During the meeting, representatives of many donors promised that a high-level delegation would be participating in the planned conference.

After the government formally invited donors to the event urging them to send high level officials, the donor representatives said that they would act to secure high level representation at the meeting.

ADB Country Director Yokoyama said that they had been considering that either the president or vice-president would participate in the meeting. “The ADB will be represented at the meet by at least the vice-president,” he said.

Other donors, including the EU representative, said they would act to ensure high level representation at the meeting.

Published: 02-06-2015 07:44

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