Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
Heads of Diplomatic Missions,
Representatives from International Organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Namaste and good afternoon!
1 Thank you for joining me at this lunch. I extend a warm welcome to all of you present here. I would like to take this opportunity to share my views with Your Excellencies on the political development that has taken place following the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal and on the immediate reform action plan of the government as well as the progress made in the post-earthquake reconstruction works.
- The new constitution has now come into execution. Several laws are being amended to make them compatible with the new constitution. To address some concerns or dissatisfaction of some sections of society on some of the provisions of the constitution, the amendment proposals in the constitution have been tabled in the legislature parliaments which are in the final stage. Political dialogue with the agitating political parties has been intensified and we are expecting to resolve the genuine concerns very soon through consensus. With this, we expect the end of the disturbance at the border points and obstruction in the supply of essential items particularly the petroleum products. This will pave our way towards intensive work on reconstruction and expedited execution of development programs.
- We appreciate our neighbors including countries from SAARC, development partners and other friendly countries for their prompt and spontaneous response received in the relief and rescue works in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes.Now the National Reconstruction Authority has started its function in a speedy manner after the adoption of the National Reconstruction Authority Act by the Legislative Parliament. In this process, officials of the Reconstruction Council, Steering Committee and Executive Committee of the NRA have been nominated; office of NRA has been set up; organizational structure of the Authority has been approved; budget and programs of reconstruction have been approved; and staffing need is being met with the pooling of personnel from different government ministries.
- Reconstruction is an opportunity to build back better and lay the foundation for Nepal’s industrialization. The reconstruction campaign is being started from 16 January or Magh 2 as per Nepali calendar when a devastating earthquake on the same day of 1934 had wrecked most of Nepal. We intend to give momentum to the reconstruction work with milestones set for the next 3 months; and by April 25, which coincides with the day of the first major earthquake of 2015, we plan to make substantial progress in housing reconstruction.
- Meanwhile, a survey of the earthquake, affected households to verify the genuine victims has made encouraging progress. The survey has begun from Dolakha district from January 2 and has already made substantial progress. Online reporting of the household survey result will facilitate us to identify the beneficiary early on. The government plans to expedite the survey by adding resource, complete the beneficiary survey by the next six weeks, and handover the housing grants to the actual beneficiaries. Efforts are also made to extend banking outreach to the earthquake-affected areas to ensure that grants could be paid through bank accounts. I would like to reiterate that, had there been no crisis in the supply of petroleum and other supplies following the obstructions in the southern border, we would have definitely made much more progress in these preparatory process and gone for reconstruction work.
- Reconstruction is a national priority and the whole country is solidly behind it; support from all segments of national life has been assured. We are aware that the mobilization of local communities is the key for success in the provision of housing construction. So, the government will be providing technical and financial assistances to the local communities for leading the reconstruction initiatives. As local government bodies are the principals implementing agencies, the government is going to strengthen their capacity and establish Resource Centres at the convenient locations for all settlements, which will supply masons and construction materials. Technical training will be also provided at the community level.
- The public infrastructure projects will be implemented through the reconstruction units in the district level development offices. A district level coordination committee will be formed under the leadership of the Member of Parliament. There will be provision of one Sub Regional Office for overseeing implementation operation for every two to three districts. A National Reconstruction Implementation Plan will be launched soon. The basis of resource mapping for undertaking reconstruction and building back better will be the Post Disaster Needs Assessment – PDNA – done with the support of the development partners in June 2015. We acknowledge and sincerely thank our neighbours, friends, development partners and other agencies for the substantial pledge made during the international conference on Nepal’s reconstruction, which has deeply encouraged us to move forward.While appreciating the development partners for pledging resources for reconstruction, I also urge for your continued support in implementing the reconstruction plan.
- The government is cognizant of the fact that representatives of the people at the local level is so critical not only for smoothly undertaking the reconstruction work but also for ensuring effective and more accountable development responses at the local level. Therefore, the government is in consultation with major political parties to forge consensus to hold interim local election under the prevailing laws. I do hope that starting from the earthquake affected districts where the local representation is so important, we will be able to conduct the election in a few phases within the first half of this year with the expectation that major political parties will agree to this proposal.
- Our government, while preoccupied with the immediate relief and rehabilitation of the earthquake victims and bringing back normalcy in the life of common people severely affected by the disruption of supply system, has announced Immediate Reform Action Plan to strengthen governance and improve service delivery. As the Government has started working on longer term socio economic development agenda along with the settlement of political and constitutional agenda, we all feel that governanceis a key to leading the country towards credible and meaningful development path. We understand that accountability, transparency, participation, and the rule of law cut across the system of governance and these four aspects are important to ensure service delivery to all segments of the society.
- Realising all these and other challenges, the government has recently approved Immediate Reform Action Plan and put into immediate implementation. The Action Plan has been clustered around transitional arrangement and state management in line with new constitution, improving public service delivery, managing development for effective results, and rapidly undertaking reconstruction. All Ministries and other central agencies of the government are required to implement time bound actions contained in the Action Plan. Monitoring as well as review of the implementation of Action Plan will be done by the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of the Ministers on regular and on monthly basis. Feedbacks from such meetings will also be regularly reviewed by the National Planning Commission and the Council of Ministers.
- We all know that the recent fuel and supply crisis has adversely affected the implementation of development projects, and thus even the projects of national pride are not performing smoothly since the earthquake and particularly after the blockage at the borders. With political settlement of the issues triggering the obstruction in the border, we are hopeful to catch up the implementation delays of the projects including those supported by development partners.
- Finally, the Government of Nepal would like to express its sincere gratitude to you all for your generous support to our reconstruction mission, which requires huge resources. We look forward to your continued support in Nepal’s drive for achieving sustainable development goals in the next 15 years, which we all have agreed during the UN General Assembly held in September 2015. The present government wishes to assure that the sustainable development goals would be the building blocks of our next periodic plans and annual development programs. We are equally committed to gradually realize inclusive and equitable development outcomes as aspired by the Nepali people and as enshrined in the directive principles of the new constitution of Nepal.
- Thank you very much, once again, for joining us at this lunch. I will stop here and invite Your Excellencies for lunch.
Thank you once again.
(Address by Right Honourable Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli at a luncheon meeting with the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Development Partners of Nepal. 14 January 2016, Kathmandu, Nepal)