Rs 2.27bn in COVID-19 fund to be mobilised soon


Kathmandu, May 21

Different government and private agencies, especially those working in the health sector, have applied for resources at the COVID-19 Control and Treatment Fund and the government has started examining the proposals.

Rajendra Kumar Poudyal, spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), informed that Rs 2.27 billion has been collected in the fund and a dedicated team is analysing the proposals that have been received to utilise the resources from the fund.

“Both government agencies and the private sector have submitted applications at the fund and they have sought resources primarily to set up dedicated hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients, set up quarantine facilities and establish isolation centres and standardise existing isolation centres,” informed Poudyal. “We will soon mobilise the fund and disburse resources to deserving institutions,” he informed.

As per the COVID-19 Control and Treatment Fund Directive, resources collected in the fund can be used to procure drugs and medical equipment, develop infrastructure to manage persons infected with the virus, mobilise necessary human resources and distribute relief materials to the needy people.

Similarly, the directive states that the federal government, provincial governments, local governments, foreign governments, institutions/organisations or persons, governmental and non-governmental organisations and domestic organisations or persons shall be eligible to receive resources from the fund.

As envisioned by the directive, a seven-member committee led by the vice chairperson of the National Planning Commission will be responsible to operate and mobilise the fund. The committee has been authorised to mobilise cash to the agencies concerned for procurement of drugs, medical equipment and other logistics. However, the committee can sanction resources from the fund only for the purpose of activities related to prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19.

Earlier, the government had set up the fund to combat the spread of the coronavirus and the unfavourable circumstances resulting from the pandemic. Though a few banks, telecom companies and other business firms have made contributions in the fund, a majority of big corporate houses have not contributed to the fund as they are apprehensive on whether the fund will be utilised in a transparent manner.

“Instead of making financial contribution in the fund, businesses have directly contributed to the needy and hospitals to combat the coronavirus as mobilisation of such funds by the government have not been effective in the past,” said an industrialist seeking anonymity.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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