Kathmandu, October 13
Suspecting deviation in the earlier estimation, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is gearing up to finalise the cost of remaining reconstruction works by end of the year.
Based on the estimation of the Post Disaster Recovery Framework (PDRF), NRA had said it would require around Rs 600 billion to complete entire post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation works. However, NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali has said that the cost estimation of the remaining works may vary, as some of the necessary works listed in the PDRF — like those related to drinking water, sanitation and livelihood support — have been aligned with the regular programmes of concerned ministries and resources have been earmarked from the annual budget.
The NRA has so far spent around Rs 185 billion in the last three years, and the fiscal budget for 2018-19 has allocated Rs 151.08 billion for reconstruction works. NRA has estimated the total reconstruction cost by end of this fiscal will reach Rs 336 billion and is preparing to organise another donors’ conference shortly to seek support from development partners for post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation works.
“NRA is preparing initial cost estimation of the remaining works, which will be finalised by the end of this year,” according to Gyewali.
Established through the sunset policy, NRA must complete reconstruction works by 2020. This means the authority does not have a lot of time at its disposal to finish the remaining works and is now gearing up for a concrete planning of resources to complete the post-earthquake reconstruction works along with cost estimation.
NRA has also allowed development partners to provide additional assistance. The governments of Norway and Japan have green signalled about providing further assistance to support the post-earthquake reconstruction drive, according to Dibya Raj Pokharel, undersecretary at NRA.
The government of Japan had pledged $260 million and the government of Norway had made a commitment of $30 million during the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) in 2015.
Following the cost estimation for the remaining works, the NRA will approach other development partners to bridge the funding gap in reconstruction, as per Chandra Bahadur Shrestha, member of the NRA executive committee.
The development partners had pledged a total of $4.1 billion during the ICNR. However, the net assistance after
deducting the assistance spent for immediate rescue, recovery, and rehabilitation from the total assistance pledged by donors hovers at $3.12 billion, as per NRA Undersecretary Pokharel.
The government has so far mobilised $1.5 billion through foreign assistance in post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation works, according to NRA.
The NRA has said that utilisation of the soft loan from the ExIm banks pledged by bilateral donors is low for the reconstruction due to difficult conditions to avail such assistance.
Expenses at a glance
2015-16 Rs 22bn
2016-17 Rs 49bn
2017-18 Rs 114bn
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.