Print Edition - 2016-10-05 | News
Nepal stares at funding gap of Rs 600 billion
Oct 5, 2016-Even if all the money pledged by the donors flows in, Nepal will still face a whopping Rs600 billion funding gap in reconstruction works--a large chunk of that will be in housing sector.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the government body responsible for the post-earthquake rebuilding and rehabilitation works, has projected the country will need Rs938 billion to carry out all the reconstruction works, of which Rs476 billion is estimated for the housing sector.
The five-year Post Disaster Recovery Framework prepared by the NRA had earlier estimated the total reconstruction cost at Rs838, almost half of which was identified for the private housing sector.
Presenting a report at the Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday, NRA Chief Executive Sushil Gyewali mentioned that of the total Rs343 billion pledged by the donor agencies and developmental partners for rebuilding Nepal, the authority has so far acquired Rs 272 billion. During the international donor conference held in June last year, two months after the Gorkha earthquake, the donor community had pledged $4.4 billion (around Rs440 billion) for rebuilding efforts.
Funds committed by the donors is comparatively low given the resources needed for rebuilding in Nepal, Gyewali shared in his presentation “Almost 75 percent of the estimated rebuilding costs are needed for rebuilding of private housing, school and heritage rebuilding,” he said. “But the funding commitment is not prioritised in these areas.”
Due to inadequate donor funding, including both pledged and disbursed amounts, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had decided last month to increase the private housing reconstruction grant, from the existing Rs200,000 to Rs300,000 to each household, along with an additional Rs200,000 as soft loan to over 700,000 earthquake-affected households in 14 most-affected districts. The extra Rs100,000 in housing aid means the government needs an additional funding of Rs80 billion.
To address the funding gap, the NRA has requested the government to prioritise the funds as mentioned in the Post Disaster Recovery Framework. The government should also facilitate the donor funding via ‘On Treasury-Open Fund’ if possible, and prepare its own framework for mobilisation of funding internally to ensure timely and effective rebuilding works, the council said, while making a decision to form a foreign aid coordination and facilitation committee.
During the meeting, PM Dahal asked the concerned authorities to pick up the pace of reconstruction activities to ensure timely rebuilding of the households and other vital infrastructure damaged in last year’s devastating earthquake. Almost half of the estimated 800,000 households damaged by the earthquake are still waiting for the first instalment of Rs 50,000.
The meeting chaired by PM Dahal also decided to induct an additional 14 lawmakers as members in the council, one each from the quake-hit districts.
Published: 05-10-2016 07:39