Kathmandu, Apr. 2 - The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) announced Thursday an assistance of 172 million pound sterling (NRs. 19.78 billion) to Nepal for the next three years - 2009 to 2012.
The pledge for support was made by visiting UK Minister for International Development Mike Foster launching a three-year plan of UK’s Department of International Department in Nepal.
The aid will be utilised through DFID’s programmes that support the peace process, improve health and education services, help people benefit from economic growth, tackle climate change and improve governance and promote the private sector in the country.
With the new DFID country plan in Nepal that amounts to nearly Rs. 20 billion, the UK has increased its aid to Nepal by 46 per cent compared to the previous three-year plan. In addition to this, the UK has pledged to provide a sum of 4 million pound sterling to fund the World Food Programme projects in the country.
The DFID will spend 56 million pound sterling each in 2009/2010, and 2010/2011 and 60 million in 2011/2012.
Launching the country plan, Minister Foster, who was in Nepal on a three-day visit, stressed on cooperation among all political parties here to tackle the challenges regarding peace process, writing of new constitution and other vital issues that will shape the future of the nation.
Speaking the programme, outgoing DFID Nepal chief, Bela Bird lauded the historical change in Nepal and people’s patience and hope for progress.
To support the peace process and help improve public security, the DFID country plan focuses on providing support to implementing outstanding areas of the peace agreements, including compensating victims of violence, internally displaced people, investigating disappearances, a truth and reconciliation process, support to the future of the armies and improving democratic control of the security forces.
The plan is focused on good governance and enabling environment for the private sector. To achieve this, the DFID will support the CA, assist the government to improve public financial management, strengthen financial sector, support more accountable and inclusive state institutions, improve state capacity for monitoring poverty, help the government and private sector to improve the investment climate, among others.
As per the plan, the DFID will scale up support to job creation and expansion of economic opportunities, which will involve putting resources into an expansion of existing and very successful skill training and job placement schemes, and developing a new private sector Challenge Fund to address obstacles in the market and help create jobs.
For helping Nepal to tackle climate change, the DFID will assist government design and implement its climate change National Adaptation Plan of Action, including flood risk reduction and agricultural adaptation in vulnerable areas.
By the end of the plan, the DFID has projected that over 400 new classrooms will be built and 200 repaired with 250,000 textbooks provided to the children at schools from its support to education. Similarly, it has aimed at saving 40,000 lives through its support to health care.
On economic sector, it has estimated that over 150,000 jobs will be created with up to two-thirds for women. It has aimed at enabling two and half million people to have access to better jobs and services through 800km of new roads built by its support. About 100,000 people will be lifted out of poverty through communities using forest resources.
Speaking at the programme, Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai urged the international community to change their perception of poverty saying that poverty was caused by unequal property and production relations.
He said that the government was effortful to achieve higher economic growth and ensure distributive justice to alleviate poverty in the country.
Speaking at the press meet after the launch of the plan, Minister Foster said that the increase of aid was as per British government’s decision, and because of the historical relations between Nepal and the UK.