FM says post-quake reconstruction sluggish

Published On: March 31, 2018 01:50 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 30: Contrary to the claims of progress in post-earthquake reconstruction by the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA), Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada has painted a bleak picture of reconstruction three years after the earthquake.  

In a white paper presented in parliament on Friday, Finance Minister Khatiwada stated that the post-earthquake reconstruction has been sluggish and that the government needs additional Rs 100 billion for the private housing reconstruction alone. 

According to the finance minister, among the households whose houses were completely destroyed by the 2015 earthquakes, only around 15 percent have been able to reconstruct their houses so far. 

A total of 767,705 households in 31 earthquake-hit districts were identified as eligible for the private housing grant of Rs 300,000. However, only 112,453 of the total households have reconstructed their houses so far, according to the NRA.  

“The progress in reconstruction of public infrastructures, heritage sites, educational institutions and health centers damaged by earthquakes is less than 50 percent of the target,” the white paper reads. 

Of the total 7,533 damaged public educational institutions, reconstruction of 2,371 schools has yet to begin. Similarly, reconstruction of 324 heritage structures of the total 753 heritage sites damaged by the earthquake has yet to start. Only 188 health centers of the total 544 damaged centers have been reconstructed so far. Likewise, only six out of 379 government buildings damaged by the earthquake have been rebuilt so far. 

Finance Minister Khatiwada also stated that the government has not been able to effectively mobilize foreign assistance pledged for reconstruction. “Of the total US$ 401 billion pledged by development partners, agreements have been signed for only 75 percent of the pledged amount. But only 16 per cent of the agreed money has been disbursed so far,” he has stated in the paper. 

He stated that the government needs to seek additional fund for the earthquake reconstruction. “For private housing alone, it seems like additional Rs 100 billion will be needed,” the finance minister added. 

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