KATHMANDU, April 28: With just two months remaining before the end of the current fiscal year, the government has spent less than half the total released budget for post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation in the affected districts.
However, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the government body for managing the earthquake recovery and reconstruction, said that it will need Rs 308 billion for further reconstruction work.
“We have already started negotiations to fill the budget gap,” Yam Lal Bhoosal, spokesperson at NRA, told Republica. “Budget management is a long-term process. So, we will continue to negotiate with donors and with our Ministry of Finance.”
According to NRA, the funding gap for the housing sector is Rs 142 billion, schools/university buildings funding gap is Rs 124 billion, heritage sites Rs 18 billion, government buildings Rs 12 billion and health institutions Rs 10 billion.
The government had allocated Rs 140 billion in the current fiscal year to expedite the reconstruction tasks.
“Many quake victims in affected districts have not yet completed the reconstruction of their damaged houses. This indicates the slow pace of budget expenditure,” said Bhoosal. “Also, the reconstruction task at many government buildings and heritage properties is yet to be handed over to the contractors, which is also a major reason behind the slow expenditure.”
The government estimated in its Post Disaster Recovery Framework (PDRF) report that around Rs 937 billion would be needed to expedite the post-quake recovery work.
Donor agencies had pledged to provide Rs 410 billion for post-disaster recovery but of the total pledged, agreement has so far been signed to provide around 75 percent only.
The second anniversary of the devastating earthquake of April 2015 was marked on Monday. So far around 550,000 earthquake victims have received the first tranche of Rs 50,000 out of the Rs 300,000 reconstruction grant. Latest data shows that around 52,000 houses have been rebuild out of over 620,000 damaged during the disaster.