Print Edition - 2015-06-26 | MONEY
ADB okays $200m in immediate aid
Jun 25, 2015-
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday announced the approval of $200 million in immediate assistance out of the $600 million committed for Nepal’s recovery.
The announcement was made by ADB President Takehiko Nakao on the sidelines of the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction.
Nakao said that the ADB board on Wednesday had approved $200 million in earthquake emergency assistance for rebuilding and restoring schools, roads and public buildings. “I truly believe that Nepal will emerge stronger from this catastrophe and continue along the path of inclusive and sustainable growth,” Nakao said.
In a addition to the $200 million emergency assistance, a further $50 million is being provided. This includes a $3 million disaster relief grant, $30 million in budget support for rural finance and a $15 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.
For the reconstruction phase, the ADB said it can allocate up to $350 million from its existing projects without affecting ongoing and planned development programmes.
The ADB funds will be mobilized for sectors like roadways, bridges and public infrastructure rebuilding. Besides, power, water and education too are among the sectors that the ADB will be supporting. “We are committed to supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation process of Nepal. However, for this, we will require support from the government and civil society,” Nakao said.
However, Nakao ruled out the possibility of turning a portion of ADB loans into a grant. “Since we have a limited amount for grants, and we need to concentrate on poor countries from this, we are not thinking about converting it into a grant,” Nakao said.
Regarding concerns that the assistance provided by donors had not been reaching the actual needy people, the ADB chief said that they had discussed the issue with the government and urged it to go to the people and reduce the misuse of funds.
During the reconstruction conference, Nakao said that the stakeholders should consider the sheer magnitude of the damage and suffering, the remoteness of the affected areas and the monsoon already setting in.
“Today’s conference is very timely. The government has shown strong leadership in planning the reconstruction efforts. It led the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment along with donors in drafting a rehabilitation and reconstruction policy, and is establishing a special agency for reconstruction,” Nakao said.
The ADB chief also stressed that the reconstruction needs should not derail Nepal’s broader development endeavors.
“Hard won gains made before the earthquake in poverty reduction, private sector-based growth and political stability should not be compromised by the tragedy. Reconstruction should go hand in hand with development programmes already planned,” he said.
Nakao said that Nepal’s political parties had made great efforts to reach a consensus, and any political tragedy should not interrupt the efforts towards growth, hinting that the signing of the 16-point agreement by the parties had expedited the process of constitution drafting.
Published: 26-06-2015 08:06