Housing grant distribution

World Bank sticks to 3-tranche modality

Published On: July 29, 2016 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 29: World Bank has said that housing grants in three tranches provides assurance to the owners by technical experts that their house meets safety standards.

Writing a letter to the Ministry of Finance for providing inputs on implementation of Emergency Housing Reconstruction Program, the multilateral donor said that such monitoring of houses under construction by technical experts will be possible in second and third tranche release stages.

World Bank is the coordinator of donors' group providing assistance for housing grants.
On July 14, Ministry of Finance had sought inputs on the issue of distributing housing grants in two tranches after the government made commitment to do so in the parliament four weeks ago. The government made the commitment after lawmakers of Nepali Congress (NC) raised the issue in the house.

NC had proposed to distribute the grant in two tranches - Rs 1500,000 in the first tranche and Rs 50,000 in the second - for quickening rebuilding of individual houses. The existing modality is to distribute Rs 50,000, Rs 80,000 and Rs 70,000, respectively, in three tranches.

Noting recent progresses on distributing housing grants by National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the World Bank argued that changes in distribution modality at this stage would cause inordinate delays and confusion to the beneficiaries who have already waited more than a year. "Any changes in the design at this stage would mean inviting delays in execution of the program," the letter reads.

The bank further said: "We certainly do not recommend to take this course when we all are aware of the repercussions."

The party demanding for change in distribution modality is likely to join the government after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli resigned after a no-confidence proposal registered in the parliament. It is not clear whether NC will stick to its stance after it joins the government.

Earlier on July 1, the World Bank had written a letter to Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Paudel, stating that revision in the modality would be against global best practices in post-disaster reconstruction and build back better principles and also against the government's agreement with development partners made at the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction (ICNR), held on June 25 last year.

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