The government has established a ‘reconstruction fund’ to funnel all financial resources received in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, the government’s own funds and any assistance received from foreign governments, donors and international agencies.
A provision of the ‘Ordinance on Reconstruction of the Structures Affected by Earthquake-2015’ states that the fund will only be spent on reconstruction of damaged assets and properties and rehabilitation of infrastructure, clearing any doubts among donors whether reconstruction funds will not be misused.
The government issued the ordinance on Monday, laying down the legal basis for the formation of an authority led by the prime minister and armed with sweeping powers to implement reconstruction activities. The authority can also fast-track development work. It will have a Chief Executive Officer and a secretariat.
Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Santa Raj Subedi, said that a national reconstruction and rehabilitation fund of US$ 2 billion, envisaged by the government soon after the earthquake, will automatically come within the jurisdiction of the new reconstruction fund. The government has already promised US $ 200 million for the fund and it will provide this amount by mid-July out of the unspent budget funds from the current fiscal year.
Funds collected in the PM’s Relief Fund have so far reached Rs 5.5 billion. The authority will supervise, coordinate and monitor the reconstruction work. And all expenditures and accounts of the fund will be audited by the Office of the Auditor General, which is a constitutional body.
Govind Raj Pokhrel, vice-chairman of National Planning Commission, said that the authority will prepare all essential by-laws on implemention modality, financial and administrative guidelines and other guidelines to fast-track the necessary procurement and land acquisition.
A prime minister-led advisory committee comprising all party leaders, civil society members and donor partners is provisioned at the top while a team with a maximum of 11 members led by the CEO of the authority will supervise, facilitate and monitor reconstruction work to ensure effective implementation.
Officials of donors in Kathmandu that Republica talked to said that there will be no shortage of funds and the only need is spending and absorptive capacity on the part of the government of Nepal.
Speaking at a press meet on Tuesday, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat also said there won’t be any shortage of budgets but what is needed was of spending that is effective and timely. He also stressed reforms in implementation and a change in attitudes towards reform.