Laxmi Capital News
WB okays $300m for house reconstruction

The World Bank has approved $300 million in additionalfinance for the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project. This supplements a$200 million credit approved by the bank on June 29, 2015.

Theadditional finance will help the government meet a share of the financing gapin its housing reconstruction programme under implementation following thedevastating earthquakes of 2015.  The impact of those earthquakes isestimated at 35 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) withrecovery needs of about $7 billion.

Froma preliminary estimate of 500,000 households in 2015, the total number ofeligible and enrolled beneficiaries has increased to 650,000 households. The government has also increased the housing grant to Rs 300,000 per householdfrom the earlier Rs 200,000 to reflect increased construction costs.  Withthese updates, the financing gap in government’s housing reconstructionprogramme has widened to over $1.2 billion.

Theadditional credit will finance hazard-resistant reconstruction of an additional96,000 houses. The original bank credit covers the reconstruction of 55,000houses. Over 73,706 houses have been reconstructed till date. Reconstructionhas started with another 177,000 houses.

“Nepalrequires critical investments in resilient recovery,” the statement issued bythe World Bank quoted its Country Manager for Nepal Takuya Kamata as saying.“This will help avoid new disaster risks and ensure Nepal’s continued progressin key development indicators.  Such investments will also strengthendisaster preparedness and improve the capacity to respond.”

Withthe additional finance, the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project willcontinue to transfer the housing grants directly to the bank accounts ofbeneficiaries.

“Thisremains a key principle in order to ensure that the right beneficiary gets theright tranche amount upon verification,” the statement quoted Kamran Akbar,senior disaster risk management specialist at the World Bank as saying.

AWorld Bank administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) supports theimplementation of the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project.  OtherMDTF partners include the US, the UK, Switzerland and Canada. Japan and Indiaalso provide parallel financing to support housing reconstruction.

Source: The HimalayanTimes, 18th December, 2017

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