Government planning Reconstruction Authority

Government planning Reconstruction Authority

The government is mulling to set up a powerful autonomous body to oversee reconstruction works on fast track mode. "The autonomous Reconstruction Authority set up with efficient government officials will spend Rs 200-billion National Reconstruction Fund for the reconstruction in speedy way," said finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, here today. "Some have also suggested to set up a separate ministry for reconstruction works," he said, adding that he is, however, in favour of establishing such a body to avoid another bureaucratic structure that will delay the reconstruction. "The all powerful autonomous body is also needed to carry out reconstruction work as existing public financial management system is inefficient in terms of expediting expenditure." It is essential to fasten the pace of formulating detailed plans on reconstruction and implementing them as soon as possible, as this would generate more employment opportunities and give impetus to economy. The new authority would basically look into three areas, Mahat said. "First, reconstruction of private houses. Second, reconstruction of public infrastructure including state-owned schools and health centres. And third, reconstruction of heritage sites." The devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25, damaged hundreds of schools, thousands of houses and government buildings, apart from world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley. He also said the government is planning to hold an international donors' conference – in a month – after making assessment of the damage. "The conference will help the government collect fund for reconstruction," he said, informing that the local donors meet will be organized within a week to inform the development partners of the country's need of speedy reconstruction. "The government has already announced a Rs 200-billion National Reconstruction Fund. Mahat said he also held a discussion about reconstruction with representatives of international donor agencies in the sidelines of the annual meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) held in Azerbaijan. During the meeting Japanese deputy prime minister and finance minister proposed to hold an international conference to appraise international community on Nepal's need, and collect aid for post-quake reconstruction. He, at the annual meeting of the ADB – had also sought $500 million for immediate relief and rehabilitation. ADB has committed to provide additional $200 million, but whether the sum will be in the form of a grant or a loan has not been disclosed.
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