Kathmandu, November 6: The Government of Switzerland has agreed to provide technical grant assistance of CHF 19.4 million (equivalent to Rs 2.1 billion) to the Government of Nepal to implement two programs in the country.
Out of the amount, CHF 9.4 million will be spent for the implementation of Trail Bridge Sector Wide Approach Framework III, and CHF 10 million to implement the Provincial and Local Governance Support Programme (PLGSP).
More than 8000 trail bridges have been built in Nepal through the Swiss technical supports and funding supports from the Government of Nepal. As a result, over 18 million people have better access to services through safer river crossings. On average, more than 1.4 million people use trail bridges every day.
In the areas that are close to trail bridges that were built, the school attendance increased by 16% and visits to health centers increased by 26%) on average.
It is estimated that Nepal still needs an additional 2400 bridges to facilitate isolated rural people in Nepal to access services and to avoid a detour of more than 1 hour. The trail bridge program will assist the Government of Nepal to implement the Sector Wide Approach Framework III to achieve this target.
The program also sets precedence in the implementation of the Federal Constitution of Nepal, whereby most of the implementation will be championed by the Palikas; longer span bridges by Provinces, and bridges in international boundaries, signature bridges and international procurement by the Federal Government.
The PLGSP, a national flagship program is designed jointly by the Government of Nepal and Development Partners to enhance the capacity of provincial and local governments in delivering effective and efficient service to citizens.
The PLGSP will contribute towards strengthening provincial and local governance systems and procedures and inter-governmental relationships to maximize the benefits of cooperative federalism for Nepali citizenry.
Among others, the Programme will help clarify the roles and responsibilities of different spheres of government and strengthen local and provincial governments to function and fulfill those roles and responsibilities. Agreements to this effect were signed and exchanged between Elisabeth von Capella, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal and Rajan Khanal, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of their respective governments today.
The Government of Nepal has expressed its sincere appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for the technical grant assistance to the rural transport infrastructure sector and watershed management, as well as its continued support in the socio-economic development of Nepal.