Slow pace of aid signing irks NRA

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 25, 2016-

Even as 11 months have elapsed since the Gorkha Earthquake, little progress has been in signing agreement with donors in accordance with their commitment made during last year’s donor conference for post-quake rebuilding. 

Donors had pledged $4.1 billion aid at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction in June to reconstruct the quake-ravaged infrastructure. But of the total pledged amount, the government has so far signed agreements worth only $1.14 billion. 

“There has not been much progress on signing of agreements with donors,” said National Reconstruction Authority Spokesperson Ram Thapaliya. 

He said signings of aid agreements had been swift only when higher authorities, like the prime minister, had taken the lead. But the progress has been disappointing whenever civil servants are engaged in bilateral agreements. 

During Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visit to India, an agreement was drafted for spending $250 million grant component of Indian government’s assistance package for the post-earthquake reconstruction. 

However, no formal agreement has been reached yet for utilising subsidised loan of $750 million out the $1billion pledged at the conference. 

Similarly, China had signed an agreement worth 3 billion RMB during PM’s ongoing China visit. 

China has agreed to provide the grant in accordance with its commitment made at the donor meet. This amount is in addition to the total money pledged at the time of the conference.

“Bureaucratic hurdles in both Nepal and donor countries have delayed the signing of aid agreements and channelising of funds for reconstruction projects,” said Thapaliya. 

NRA officials blame the project implementing ministries of dilly-dallying in presenting reconstruction projects for the delay. The reconstruction body had to wait more than eight months to get its chief executive officer, causing a significant delay in reconstruction works. 

Following the NRA’s launch of the reconstruction of shelters in the quake-affected districts, the government has recently released Rs65 billion for the reconstruction body. Of that amount, Rs33 billion has been allocated to the reconstruction of shelters, Rs2 billion for authority’s administrative costs, Rs17 billion for the reconstruction of public buildings and Rs13 billion for the roads.

Published: 25-03-2016 08:59

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