Govt restricts setting up a separate fund to collect donations for COVID-19

Published On: March 25, 2020 11:10 AM NPT By: Republica


Calls for contribution to the government fund to combat COVID-19

KATHMANDU, March 25: The government has restricted any agency, organization or company from establishing a separate fund to respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

As some organizations or companies have started to set-up their own funds, in the wake of coronavirus outbreak risk in Nepal, the government made the decision to prohibit them to collect money for the pandemic. The government has urged all those interested organizations or companies as well as individuals to make financial contribution in the government's own fund. 

Following a meeting of a high-level committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel, Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada, who is also the government spokesperson, said that all financial support should be deposited in the government's fund. 

According to the finance minister, those who have already set up separate funds should use it to collect money only from within organizations or people working under them. The collected money should be handed over to the government's fund within seven days. 

The decision also comes in the wake of growing concerns about the possibility of the misuse or irregularities of donations collected by non-governmental entities. Previously, in 2015, when earthquakes rocked the country, the government made a similar decision to collect donation only through the government fund amid complaints about the misuse of money collected by various organizations for recovery and reconstruction efforts. 

“If there is any company which has many branches or units across the country, they may set up a fund and their headquarters can collect the money in the fund. But, that money should be transferred to the government's fund after seven days,” Narayan Prasad Bidari, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, told Republica. “The decision is aimed to make sure that any donation or support is not misused and it is mobilized through a single-door,” he added. 

With the government's announcement to set up the fund for the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19, many organizations, companies and businesses have been providing their support in the fund. 

The government has set up a bank account (Account Number 196000001101) at Rastriya Banijya Bank Ltd for the fund where any institution or individual can donate cash to combat COVID-19, according to Bidari. 

Bank and financial institutions, insurance companies, brokerage firms, schools and colleges, and other companies have been announcing their financial support to the government fund. For example, Ncell, a telecommunications company, announced a contribution of Rs 100 million to the government fund on Coronavirus Infection Prevention, Control and Treatment. 

All ministers including Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, have decided to donate their one month's salary to the fund. 

Similarly, many individuals have also spontaneously come forward to declare their donation in the fund. There has been call for parliamentarians to donate their salary in the government fund. In a tweet post on Monday, Gagan Thapa, member of the House of Representatives, urged each parliamentarian to donate their salary to the government fund. He also urged others to provide financial assistance in the fund to assure the government that they are with the government during the calamity. 

A twitter announcement by Rameshore Khanal, a former government secretary, to donate his a month's pension of Rs 41,731 to the government fund has also drawn appreciation.


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