KATHMANDU, June 7: The Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) on Tuesday said that the government has not brought any specific program for poverty alleviation in the budget for the Fiscal Year 2017/18.
Speaking at a press meet in Kathmandu, Yam Bahadur Thapa, the vice president of PAF, said that the government did not entertain the fund's suggestions for the budget. “The World Bank (WB), which has been the main donor of PAF since its establishment, is reducing its grant from the next fiscal year. It will make us difficult to implement poverty reduction programs,” he said.
PAF has already worked in 60 districts, benefiting four million citizens of more than 800,000 households. It has spent a total of Rs 25.84 billion since its establishment to uplift the living standards of extremely poor people, according to Thapa. He further added that PAF has spent an average of Rs 25,000 per household since its establishment.
"A total of around Rs 150,000 should be spent to uplift the living standard of a household which is under extreme poverty,” he said, adding that the government also turned a deaf ear to PAF's request to open Poverty Alleviation Bank.
Khadka also said that PAF has aimed to reach to all 75 districts of the country to uplift the living standard of extremely poor citizens.
In the press meet, officials of PAF said that the fund will work with the local units to make poverty alleviation work more effective and establish itself as an independent institution.
Thapa also said that PAF has been working in 14 earthquake-affected districts -- Dolakha, Dhading, Gorkha, Khotang, Lamjung, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Okhaldhunga, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Solukhumbu and Chitwan. “PAF has worked on rehabilitation in those districts. It has trained 4,500 masons and provided orientation to 57,142 households," he added.
PAF has been helping handicraft producers of Dailekh, Dang, Terhathum, Kapilvastu, Myagdi, Gorkha and Dhanusha with the financial assistance of Japan Social Development Fund. A total of 8,000 manufacturers have been benefitted from the program, according to PAF Secretariat.
Likewise, PAF has targeted to develop 70 pocket zones in its targeted districts. PAF has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to work together in three most-affected districts in the 2015 earthquakes.
Similarly, it has also signed MoU with Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Ministry of Agriculture Development, and Ministry of Livestock Development.