Lack of CEO hits reconstruction work

  • NRA had committed to building 722,101 houses by the end of next fiscal but it has built only 50 per cent of houses so far

Kathmandu, August 11

Non-appointment of Chief Executive Officer at the National Reconstruction Authority has affected reconstruction work in 31 earthquake affected districts.

NRA CEO Yuba Raj Bhusal lost his job on July 4 when the government revoked all political appointments made by the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government after 30 August 2017.

According to the NRA,  37,490 grievances remain unaddressed due to lack of NRA chief, said NRA Assistant Spokesperson Manohar Ghimire.

“Delay in appointment of NRA CEO has affected us in meeting the construction target,” Ghimire said, adding that weekly executive committee meetings have not been held after Bhusal lost his job.

NRA had committed to building 722,101 houses by the end of next fiscal, but it has built only 50 per cent of the houses so far. This means the NRA, which started its reconstruction work in 2016, cannot build the remaining 50 per cent houses within the next one year.

Moreover, five national and international non-governmental organisations could not get approval for reconstruction work in the absence of the CEO.

Non-appointment of CEO has led to piling of grievances and delay in handling some key policy issues.

Some proposals sent by donors have also not been cleared in the absence of the CEO, said Ghimire.

NRA has been unable to coordinate with various ministries on the issues of reconstruction.

The NRA CEO has powers equal to those of a federal minister and in the absence of the CEO, other officials cannot coordinate with government and non-government agencies.

NRA advisory council meeting, which is led by the prime minister, could not take place on July 5 due to non-appointment of a new NRA CEO. The PM-led NRA steering committee meeting was scheduled for July 8  but could not be held due to Bhusal’s dismissal.

As per the policy formulated in April, the beneficiaries were supposed to receive second tranche of money to build houses  by mid-July. Around 541,279 beneficiaries who started building their houses have been affected. According to NRA, 32 per cent houses are under construction, 18 per cent haven’t been built and 50 per cent houses have completed reconstruction work.

According to an official, the NRA secretary has sent directives to its employees telling them to continue the old policy of reconstruction until a new policy is introduced.

“The directives of the secretary must be endorsed by the executive committee. That wasn’t done as there was no CEO” said an NRA official. The steering committee has yet to endorse Rs.1.52 billion budget allocated by the finance ministry.

According to NRA sources, executive members of NRA  Hari Ram Parajuli and Chandra BahadurShrestha have been lobbying  the political leadership, including PM Oli and Nepal Communist Party Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to make them the CEO.