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KARACHI: Minister asks to release Rs 20 billion every month for reconstruction of houses damaged in the 2022 floods, Dagha told that only 5 percent houses reconstruction could be started since floods last year

In a series of meetings held by the Caretaker Minister for Finance, Revenue and P&D Mohammad Younus Dagha, it was informed that out of the 2.1 million houses destroyed, the construction work has been started on 130,000 houses against which Rs. 10.306 billion have been released to the flood victims through their bank accounts.

The minister Dagha observed that at this pace it will take several years to complete the task adding to the misery of the affected people which will also enhance the reconstruction cost several times. He directed the Project Director/CEO and the partner NGOs to ensure bank account opening of at least 100,000 flood affected every month and ensure release of at least Rs. 20 billion every month to bring the pace of work to a level that the reconstruction of houses is completed in the shortest possible time.

The meetings were informed that the damages to the houses and infrastructure in Sindh during 2022 floods were estimated to be USD 5.5 billion and the funds required for reconstruction of the houses was USD 1.521 billion or Rs. 425.843 billion on the current rates. The funds procured till now amounted to Rs. 190.00 billion, out of which the World Bank has committed loans of USD 500 million (Rs. 140 billion), and GOS Rs. 50 billion. The funding gap is USD 0.872 billion Rs. 244.243 billion.

The five partner NGOs namely SRSO, SAFCO, HANDS, TRDP, and NRSP were working in the 20 affected districts. They assured the Minister that they will provide the required support to increase the pace.

It was highlighted in the meeting that the main hurdle in the progress was the slow pace of the opening of the bank accounts. The Minister told the meeting that the banks’ leadership will be sensitized about the importance of the project and that they should monitor and incentivize their branch officials to increase their output. It was also decided that more banks be involved in the effort.

Dagha who is also the Minister for Revenue, asked his office to issue directives to the concerned Deputy Commissioners to speed up the work for providing ownership rights to the flood victims for the land on which their houses are being reconstructed.

It was observed by the Minister Dagha that sufficient funds are available to ensure that the reconstruction of 100,000 houses can be funded every month. However, in order to keep the momentum in the next year as well, negotiations be held with the World Bank, ADB and Islamic Development Bank to fill the financing gap.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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