Sindh’s Caretaker Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Planning & Development, Mohammad Younus Dagha has called for the release of Rs20 billion each month to accelerate the reconstruction of houses damaged by the 2022 catastrophic floods.
Dagha noted that only 5 per cent of house reconstruction has commenced since last year’s floods. During a series of meetings, it was revealed that out of the 2.1 million houses destroyed in the flood, reconstruction work has started on only 130,000 houses, with Rs10.306 billion already disbursed to the flood victims through their bank accounts.
The minister expressed concerns about the slow pace of reconstruction, emphasising that at the current rate, it would take several years to complete the task, causing prolonged hardship for the affected population and significantly increasing reconstruction costs. To expedite the process, he directed the project director/CEO and partner NGOs to ensure that at least 100,000 bank accounts are opened for flood-affected individuals every month, with a monthly disbursement of at least Rs20 billion to accelerate the reconstruction of houses.
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According to estimates, damages to houses and infrastructure in Sindh during the 2022 floods amounted to $5.5 billion, with a fund requirement of $1.521 billion or Rs425.843 billion at current exchange rates. So far, Rs190.00 billion has been secured, with the World Bank committing loans of $500 million and the government of Sindh contributing Rs50 billion. However, there remains a funding gap of $0.872 billion or Rs244.243 billion.
Five partner NGOs, including SRSO, SAFCO, HANDS, TRDP, and NRSP, are operating in the 20 affected districts and have pledged to provide the necessary support to accelerate the reconstruction process.
The main challenge identified during the meetings was the slow pace of opening bank accounts. Minister Dagha emphasised the need to sensitise bank leadership about the project’s importance and to monitor and incentivise branch officials to increase their efficiency. It was also decided to involve more banks in the effort.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th2023.