Govt told to launch reconstruction fund within a month

KATHMANDU: The Development Committee of the Parliament on Wednesday told the concerned government bodies including the National Reconstruction Authority to set up a reconstruction fund within a month as mentioned in the law.

Summoning the NRA Chief Executive Officer Govinda Raj Pokharel at the meeting today, the House panel stressed that the fund was a must to facilitate the smooth release of the budget for post-earthquake reconstruction works.

In absence of the fund, the NRA has to ask the Ministry of Finance to release the reconstruction budget every time.

Though a decision was already taken before to set-up a mechanism under the leadership of Chief Secretary to operate the fund, the implementation has not taken place yet, according to the NRA.

The Reconstruction Act provisions for such a fund to regulate the spending of funds collected from the government, the Prime Minister's Natural Disaster Relief Fund, other donors including international governments and national as well as international non-government organisations.

CEO complains of restriction

Meanwhile, speaking at the meeting, NRA CEO Pokharel told the lawmakers that the Reconstruction Act and current terms of reference, which the reconstruction body has to follow, were so restrictive that it limited the status of the NRA as a division within the National Planning Commission.

"The works could not move ahead as expected due to complexities in the process," he said, "If it remains the same, there is no meaning of establishment of the Authority."

During the meeting, the lawmakers had suggested that the NRA should expand its focus to other less affected 17 districts as well, besides the worst hit 14 ones.