NRA budget up 3.35pc to Rs151.08bThe government allocated Rs 151.08 billion, for the fiscal year 2018-19, to reconstruct buildings damaged by the earthquake on April 25, 2015, an increase by 3.35 percent compared to the current year’s budget of Rs 146.18 billion.
The government allocated Rs 151.08 billion, for the fiscal year 2018-19, to reconstruct buildings damaged by the earthquake on April 25, 2015, an increase by 3.35 percent compared to the current year’s budget of Rs 146.18 billion.
During his budget speech in the Parliament on Tuesday, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said, “Adequate budget is allocated to complete reconstruction of private houses.”
Reconstruction of Dharahara, the historic nine-story tower built in 1832 by the then Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa and Rani Pokhari one of the famous landmarks in Kathmandu, built in the 17th century, will be completed within three years, the government said.
Though the government said the amount would fulfill the need of reconstruction sector, an official at the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) claimed that there is not much to rejoice about the allocation, as a significant portion is foreign aid and loan. Of the Rs151.08 billion, the government has allocated Rs50.05 billion while Rs88.19 billion comprises foreign loan and Rs12.83 billion as foreign grant.
The official claimed government allocation is less and would affect reconstruction of schools, health institutions and buildings belonging to the government as well as security agencies.
“There won’t be a problem in distributing housing grants, it will affect all other sectors,” the official, who did not want to be identified, told the Post. “The government should have allocated additional Rs20 billion from the state coffers.”
NRA Chief Executive Officer Yubraj Bhusal insisted the budget allocation is satisfactory, given the authority has the mandate to reconstruct private homes and resettle quake victims in the first leg.
“The Finance Minister has pledged to disburse additional amount in the days to come, if needed,” said Bhusal. The official privy to the development said the government has relied heavily on the $750 million line of credit from India for the reconstruction.
At the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction, India had pledged $1 billion of which $250 million is grant and the remaining 75 percent of the amount is line of credit.
According to Bhusal, the issue about Indian line of credit, which is nowhere in sight till date, was raised during the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal.
“We have urged India to take the line of credit as budgetary support. Hopefully, the matter would be shorted out soon,” said Bhusal.