Private sector contributes Rs 150 million to COVID-19 fund

Kathmandu, March 27

The private sector is seen to be increasingly contributing in the COVID-19 fund established by the government.

As per the Office of the Prime Minister and Councils of Ministers (OPMCM), Rs 150 million has been contributed in the fund from the private sector till this evening.

The government had stated that it would establish a fund to launch initiatives against the spread of the coronavirus and contribute Rs 500 million in it.

Interestingly, though the private sector has started making contributions to the fund, the government itself is yet to deposit Rs 500 million in the fund’s bank account in Rastriya Banijya Bank.

“The fund is yet to receive the said amount of Rs 500 million from the government.

However, the fund has received Rs 150 million from the private sector so far, while cheque clearance of almost Rs 50 million is in the process. In gross, the fund has received almost Rs 200 million from the private sector till today,” said Rajendra Kumar Poudel, joint secretary at OPMCM.

Meanwhile, the government has also prepared a working guideline to mobilise the resources collected in the fund.

As per the guideline, resources collected in the fund will be mobilised for both government and non-government agencies working to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Even private sector bodies, including private hospitals working to prevent the spread of the virus will get resources from the fund.

Government agencies seeking resources from the fund will have to submit an application to the fund.

However, applications received from the private sector will be studied before disbursing resources from the fund.

Poudel said that the guideline was prepared to ensure accountability and transparency of the fund. As per the guideline, anyone working to prevent the spread of coronavirus can seek resources from the fund, including the private sector, central government and provincial and local governments, as per Poudel.

Different corporate houses have been contributing to the fund. Among others, Ncell has already handed over a cheque of Rs 100 million to the fund — the largest contribution by a corporate house so far.

Similarly, Himalayan Bank, Global IME Bank, Nepal Bank, Laxmi Group, Bhatbhateni Supermarket and Agricultural Development Bank, among others, have announced they will contribute in the fund.

On Thursday, Vishal Group had announced to contribute Rs 10 million worth of relief materials to the government like N95 masks, sanitisers, personal protective equipment and infrared thermometers, etcetera.

Meanwhile, the government has barred other agencies from establishing any such fund.