Reconstruction body ‘before donor summit’

  • Govt argues setting up committee ahead of June 25 conference will encourage donors to commit funds
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 13, 2015-

Plans are afoot to set up a reconstruction body before an international donors’ conference scheduled for June 25. The government says such a mechanism will be crucial in convincing donors to fund the planned rebuilding activities.

The fiscal year ends in mid-July so the government has a point to hold the donor meet before presenting budget for the next fiscal.

The National Planning Commission (NPC) has already submitted a proposal for setting up a prime minister-led National Recons-truction and Rehabilitation Implementation Committee.

A chief secretary-led team has prepared a draft of the law to govern the activities of the reconstruction panel. The draft is currently being discussed among the ministries and the team will hold a stakeholder discussion shortly.

Speaking at the stakeholder meeting held to discuss Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report in Kathmandu on Saturday, Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal said the PM-led committee would be set up formally before the June 25 conference.

Paudyal said care was taken while drafting the Act to balance the representation of political leadership and experts in the reconstruction committee. “We cannot keep this body out of politics but there should not be party-politicisation,” he added.

The chief secretary said the panel would be made small enough to ensure swift decision-making. “As public procurement and environment impact assessment take long to complete under normal conditions, we are making a special arrangement to fast-track the committee’s works.”

The bill empowers the body to acquire land, to relocate human settlements, and to pool land owned by the resettled people. Still debatable is whether the prime minister should be allowed to remove its chief executive officer.

As per the NPC proposal, there will be a secretariat led by the vice-chairperson where the CEO and three experts will carry out daily works.

“I am in favour of the provision where the PM can remove the CEO,” said Paudyal. “One can handle reconstruction properly only when there is a person trusted by the prime minister.”

Earlier, a meeting of the secretaries led by Paudyal had suggested a mechanism where political appointees should resign when the government changes.

A senior NPC official, however, said that allowing the PM to remove the CEO would make the mechanism unstable and thus unable to carry out its responsibilities at the required pace.

In order to ensure accountability, there will be monitoring of the high-powered committee by civil society and independent experts.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the body should be able to take swift decisions. He wants the committee to be free from political influence.

Published: 14-06-2015 08:31

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