REPUBLICA

KATHMAND, May 18: Nepal's plan to graduate into a developing country from its current status as a least development country (LDC) by 2022 is set to be deferred as the resources the government planned to put on achieving the graduation targets is set to go into recovery and rehabilitation efforts following the massive earthquake of April 25.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said the devastation caused by massive earthquake had affected the government's plan to graduate Nepal from the LDC status by 2022. "Our limited resources now need to be spent on reconstruction and other recovery efforts after the earthquake. This is going to affect our plan to graduate from the LDC to a developing country by 2022," Minister Pandey said during a press conference organized at the ministry on Monday.

Minister Pandey said National Planning Commission (NPC) will take various aspects into consideration before devising a plan. "National Planning Commission will soon come up with a plan on graduation," Minister Pandey further said.

For Nepal to graduate to a developing country it has to meet two of the three UN criteria that require Nepal to post an economic growth rate of 9.2% every year until 2022 to meet the criteria of Human Development Index, Human Asset Index and Economic Vulnerability Index and invest 17 trillion rupees over the next nine years. Minister Pandey said although they require taking LDC graduation plan in a different way they are not going to give it up.

Among other things, the NPC's comprehensive plan will make specific suggestions on land use plan such as setting aside lands for farming, public office buildings and residential areas. "There is a need to take education and health sector as well in a new way. The comprehensive plan of the NPC will set our priorities. We expect all donors contributing to our priority areas," Pandey said.

Minister Pandey also mentioned that the government is holding international conference of donors to help rehabilitate earthquake victims and reconstruct damaged buildings after completing Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) by mid-June. "We believe that whatever support has come to Nepal has to be spent for Nepal's development. We will be publicizing the details as to how much aid is announced and how much has been actually spent here to benefit earthquake victims," he further said.

On the occasion, Minister Pandey brief about various activities undertaken by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in the aftermath of the major earthquake that hit on April 25 and later again on May 12. The ministry had constantly made coordination with international community in rescue and relief efforts after the earthquake, set up Humanitarian Staging Area at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to receive the relief materials collected and dispatched by Nepali missions abroad and hand them over to concerned government bodies and deputed the ministry's staff at work on round the clock basis beside also sending 26 staffers to Dolakha district to collect details of the losses caused by the earthquake.

According to Pandey, the ministry also held meeting with donor agencies to help collect fund for Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund to expedite relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction works and taken initiative to pass UN Aid Resolution on helping Nepal in view of the massive earthquake.

Source: www.myrepublica.com (18 May 2015)