International NGOs likely to slash funds for Nepal as pandemic affects developed world, stakeholders sayThe country has received Rs12 billion as of the third quarter of this fiscal year, according to Social Welfare Council.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
Aid commitment to Nepal from the international non-governmental organisations could go down significantly this fiscal year, with the major funding countries, officials and representatives of foreign NGOs said.
During the third quarter of the current fiscal year 2019-20, the country received the pledge amount of Rs 12 billion, according to the Social Welfare Council.
“Project proposals of around Rs 4-5 billion are awaiting the council’s approval for their implementation,” Durgha Bhattarai, information officer at the council, told the Post.
In the last fiscal year 2018-19, the council had approved the projects worth Rs28 billion. “Considering the impact the Covid 19 has had among the major funding countries, we don’t expect to receive proposals matching the last fiscal year’s figure,” Bhattarai said.
He added the representatives of international NGOs were unsure whether the committed fund would be issued amid the global health as well as financial crisis triggered by the pandemi.
Nepal has been receiving a significant portion of foreign aid through international NGOs. In the last fiscal year, they disbursed $ 215 million to various projects in Nepal, according to the Development Cooperation Report 2018-19 published by the Finance Ministry.
The amount was almost double of what they had spent—$110 million—in the previous fiscal year.
The share of foreign NGOs in total official development assistance of donors stands at 12 percent, according to the report.
Foreign NGOs have been working in partnership with local NGOs in the areas of local development. They have also been providing support to service delivery, advocacy, raising awareness and strengthening accountability.
Achyut Luitel, president of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal, said that he did not not believe that there would be a commitment of as much as Rs28 billion in the current fiscal year.
“I think the aid pledged to the health sector will remain stable if not rise while funding in other sectors may decrease,” he told the Post.
He said foreign donors could channelise their resources in the areas of economic recovery and employment creation in the upcoming years as the pandemic has been causing devastating effects on the livelihood of Nepali people.
After the earthquakes of 2015, a large number of foreign NGOs had increased their spendings in post-quake relief and rehabilitation projects.
According to the National Reconstruction Authority, foreign NGOs have so far spent more than Rs40 billion in reconstruction projects.
However, Bhattarai said that Nepal could not expect such contribution from the foreign NGOs this time around, because the pandemic has caused a global economic crisis.
Meanwhile, a growing number of foreign NGOs have started to divert their existing funds towards fighting Covid-19 after the council allowed them to divert 20 percent of their budget in pandemic preparedness and response programmes.
“As many as 22 international NGOs have taken the council’s approval to divert Rs750 million to fight the pandemic,” Bhattarai said.
The international NGOs are supporting in the areas such as health and sanitation, emergency relief and education.