KATHMANDU, June 7: Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada has said the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) have not been able to make expected progress even though the government has been spending huge funds.
He directed the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and representatives of local units to work on a war-footing to realize the government’s goal of completing the housing grant distribution to the earthquake victims in all the 31 affected districts by the end of the fiscal year.
“The government has allocated Rs 151 billion for NRA, with the aim to complete private housing reconstruction by the next fiscal year. From the hefty budget allocation, it is clear that the government has given top priority to post-earthquake reconstruction. So, I ask the authority and the local representatives to be active to make tangible achievements on the reconstruction and rehabilitation fronts,” Minister Khatiwada said, while addressing an interaction organized on Wednesday by the NRA to discuss the delay on the housing grants distribution in the Kathmandu Valley.
He said that the government is committed to helping the authority and the local units with removing policy-level obstacles needed to speed up the delayed housing grant distribution.
He also urged the authorities concerned to exercise caution to avoid misuse of funds allocated for post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation.
“The government has borrowed a huge amount of money from foreign donors and mobilized internal resources to fund the post-earthquake recovery. So, I urged the concerned bodies to maintain transparency in the use of reconstruction funds,” he added.
He also urged the earthquake victims to properly utilize the funds provided for rebuilding their damaged homes. “The government has supported the victims by providing the housing grant. Now, it is the victims’ responsibility to reconstruct their damaged houses,” he added.
Similarly, he also directed the Nepal Rastra Bank to take necessary steps to provide subsidized loans to the quake victims. The decision to provide an interest-free loan of Rs 300,000 was unveiled in the budget of the fiscal year 2016/17. However, the government has failed to make necessary arrangements for providing the loan.