Nepal's corruption-free reconstruction effort

 
By Denis McClean

KATHMANDU, 8 May, 2019 - One of the world’s largest ever post-earthquake reconstruction projects is corruption-free and will complete its work of rebuilding and retrofitting 824,000 homes by the end of next year – six years after the 7.8 Gorkha earthquake which levelled a million homes in Nepal.

The chairman of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, Mr. Sushil Gyanali, will deliver this message to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva next week where he will be a keynote speaker at the 4th World Reconstruction Conference.

Four years after the April 25, 2015 earthquake, Mr.  Sushil Gayawali was upbeat in his assessment.

“Progress is going really well. There is very good speed and momentum. We have a target of 824,000 homes, 50% have been completely rebuilt, 30% are ongoing and the remaining 20% are in process. We will complete 80% this year and the rest by the end of next year.”

The NRA chief reports a similar rate of progress across other sectors including schools, health centres, government buildings and the country’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites.

He highlights a number of innovative aspects to the reconstruction programme.

The government provides each beneficiary household with Rs 300,000 ($3,000) which is released on completion of owner driven reconstruction in three installments: Rs 50,000 to lay the foundations; Rs 150,000 to put up the walls, and finally, Rs 100,000 for the roof.  At each stage of the process, a government engineer’s approval is required before the release of the money.

Mr. Gayawali takes particular pride in the fact that the system for disbursing the considerable funds has been rendered corruption free by the simple expedient of requiring all beneficiaries to open a bank account which means that, in a very short space of time, 760,000 people became new entrants to the banking system.

“The Government is with the people in a very difficult situation.  The process is corruption-free because the money goes directly to the beneficiaries,” he said.

In addition, the NRA has made provision to provide Rs 50,000 to 18,000 vulnerable households, along with technical support necessary for people lacking the capacity to manage the reconstruction effort on their own.

Another novel feature of the mammoth enterprise is that people dissatisfied with the review of their needs can register a grievance. To date, 437,662 grievances have been registered which has resulted in 32,736 beneficiaries being added to the list for support with reconstruction.

VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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