Fund transparency at heart of reconstruction, says govt

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Fund transparency at heart of reconstruction, says govt

Jun 25, 2015-

Assuring transparency and proper utilisation of aid, the government has told the international community that the support will reach the target communities.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat made it clear that the government was committed to transparency of funds and measures against corruption.

Addressing the inaugural session of the donor conference, Prime Minister Koirala said the government would strive to ensure that the help reaches the needy. “We will share periodically the use of the funds to maintain transparency because you [donors] are accountable to your own citizens,” said Koirala. “I assure you that my government will have zero tolerance for corruption.”

The high-level National Reconstruction Authority, according to Koirala, will carry out planned and sustainable reconstruction. “The agency will be run by professionals in engineering and disaster management disciplines, among others.”

Finance Minister Mahat promised that civil society and development partners would be part of the reconstruction efforts.

“There will be a substantial role for scrutiny and shared responsibility assigned to our domestic civil society and international development partners,” said Mahat.

Senior government officials also tried to convince development partners that the money pledged would be used efficiently. Finance Secretary Suman Sharma said the ordinance to form the authority had also given much space for oversight of the activities of the authority. “There is the provision of reporting to the National Reconstruction Consultative Committee headed by the prime minister,” said Sharma.

The government also informed that the Grievance Redress Committee is headed by a sitting or former judge of Appellate Court.

Responding to donors’ concerns over the government’s poor absorption capacity, senior officials said the authority would fast-track its works such as procurement, land acquisition and environment impact assessment.

During the inaugural session, Nepal had called for generous support from donors stating that the country’s gain in human development and economic growth faced a setback due to the earthquake.

“Economic growth this fiscal is expected to be the lowest in eight years. The impressive progress in the social sector such as cuts in infant mortality and access to improved sources of water and sanitation are likely to stall,” said Mahat.

Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey asked the international community to respond in a robust and highly coordinated manner to the crisis. “Such response may be financial support, market access, technology transfer and announcement of special economic zones and foreign direct investment,” he said.

Published: 26-06-2015 07:40

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