‘Outcome beyond expectations’
Jun 25, 2015-
As the donor conference ended in the Capital on Thursday on a high note, an elated Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat spoke to Mukul Humagain. Excerpts:
Development partners responded generously to the Nepal government’s call in its reconstruction bid. How do you evaluate the conference?
I take it as a grand success both in terms of participation and outcome. The outcome was more than what we had expected as donors pledged $4.4 billion for reconstruction. The timing of the conference was right.
We have also received commitment from donors in providing technical assistance and advisory service and training to enhance our capability during a natural disaster like this. The fact that we organised a conference of this scale in an adverse situation speaks volumes of our capacity even as we were told that we would not be able to host the event.
What were the major concerns of donors during the closed session?
Donors would not have pledged this much if they had concerns. Having said this, we need to improve our capacity to better utilise their money. We should also ensure that the money is not misused and we need to work further in this regard. We have formed a powerful Reconstruction Authority which will ensure fast-track reconstruction. It will fast-track public procurement, land acquisition and environmental clearance that have emerged as stumbling blocks in recent years for speedy completion of projects.
India and China pledged huge amounts of assistance. How do you see this?
Both our immediate neighbours pledged with open hearts. This shows the confidence our two neighbours have on Nepal as well as their affection to us. It also demonstrates their commitment to support Nepal in its crisis.
The onus now lies on the government to start reconstruction. When will the National Reconstruction Authority start its work? When will the CEO be appointed?
We want to make the authority operational as soon as possible. For this, the whole of the government will work. We want to see an apolitical person with high moral integrity and rich experience as the chief executive officer. The prime minister is clear about what kind of a person should be appointed the CEO.
How much of the pledged money will be incorporated in the next fiscal year’s budget?
These all are commitments and we should convert them into projects. Then negotiations begin with donors about the scope of projects and activities, their implementation modality and the time frame. I am hopeful that some portions of the commitment will reflect in the upcoming budget.
Published: 26-06-2015 07:41