Nepal | June 07, 2020

Ministries’ governance capacity down: Mahat

Himalayan News Service
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KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat today said the ministries’ governance capacity had decreased in recent years which could pose challenge in the reconstruction and rebuilding efforts.

Addressing an interaction here on Wednesday organised by BP Thought Academy, Mahat said he had no problem admitting that most of the ministries had not even spent half of their budget.

Mahat said the government prepared the Post Disaster Needs Assessment as per globally accepted methodologies. “We need to have real data on the loss of property or else the international community may not accept our data,” he added.

He said the government estimated that Rs 666 billion would be needed for recovery and reconstruction but that included the amount that the private sector would have to invest. Mahat said the government would create a powerful and autonomous authority to handle the challenges of reconstruction.

Resettlement, he added, is another challenging work for the government, as most of the earthquake affected victims might not opt to go far from their original place. “I met a Pakistani authority who told me that despite the government’s plan to resettle 1,000 quake affected families, in the last 10 years, only 300 families came to resettle in the designated area,” he said and added that most people prefer to stay in their original places, as they are linked to their livelihood.

The minister said the government was planning to raise fund for reconstruction through internal borrowing, soft loans and grants. He also said the government could borrow more from domestic and international markets, without causing harm to the economy, because the country has adequate fiscal space. Currently, the country’s debt-GDP ratio stands at less than 30 per cent.

Former finance minister Barsha Man Pun said the government should make clear guidelines about the reconstruction policies and it should build houses of those victims that are below poverty line. He, however, said the government could give certain amount or provide loan facilities to other categories of quake affected people.

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