Donors seek refund of unspent Peace moneyFour donor agencies that supported post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction through Nepal Peace Trust Fund have asked back the unspent money they had released for various peace-building programmes.
Four donor agencies that supported post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction through Nepal Peace Trust Fund have asked back the unspent money they had released for various peace-building programmes.
According to the NPTF, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and Demark, which had supported until the second phase of the NPTF that ended in 2013, have requested for refunding of the unspent portion of the money they had provided. In an emailed response to the Post, three donors confirmed their demand.
“According to all our agreements….. any unspent funds are usually returned at the end of a programme. This also applies for the NPTF. At the moment the final refund is in process,” stated the response of the Swiss, Danish and Norwegian embassies.
A spokesperson for the DFID Nepal, however, did not specifically confirm whether they had asked back the unspent sum. The official said the DFID had decided not to allocate additional funding for the next phase but it would not reduce its spending in Nepal as a result of this decision.
There is also the tradition of donors re-channelising the remaining funds into other programmes. However, the Norwegian Embassy said that its last disbursement of funds to the NPTF was in 2013. “If the funds have not been used within two years of disbursement, they cannot be redirected to other projects,” it added.
The Danish Embassy, on the other hand, said that its embassy in Nepal will be closing at the end of 2017. “Therefore, the embassy is not in a position to engage in new programmes and projects,” it added.
After the exit of these donors from the NPTF, the third phase of the programme is being implemented with support from only two donors—the USAID and the European Union. The third phase will end by mid-July next year.
“These four donors have been seeking the return of the unspent money for the last four-five months,” said Sanjaya Kumar Khanal, executive director at the NTPF.
“We have been collecting actual figures of the unspent budget from various implementing agencies to return the money,” said Khanal.
According to him, the NPTF has asked the implementing agencies to provide details of the expenditures after certifying them from the Financial Comptroller General Office. The FCGO is the agency that keeps records of income and expenditures of the government and of foreign aid.
As the third phase is also nearing its end, the NPTF is making preparations for closing the fund. Under the third phase, programmes related to supporting the conflict-affected people, transitional justice and reconciliation, access to security and local peace-building initiatives are being implemented.
The fund, which had 60 percent contribution from the government and 40 percent from the donors, has released around Rs24 billion since 2007 for several activities, according to Khanal.
Currently, only seven programmes are being implemented, down from 72 programmes in the past.
The NPTF had significant contribution to tasks including management of the Maoist cantonments, holding of the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013, and the re-deployment of Nepal Police across the country.