Allocating budget for natural disaster relief activities in the dzongkhags is not possible, finance minister Namgay Dorji said at the National Assembly.

During a question hour session on November 24, Kabisa-Talo MP, Dophu Dukpa, asked if the ministry had any plans to allocate certain amount to dzongkhag administrations for fund relief activities in times of disasters.

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said that as per the Disaster Management Act, 2013 there were three types of financing arrangements – financing for response and relief operations, financing for immediate restoration of essential public infrastructure to normalcy in the community and financing for recovery and reconstruction.

During the times of disaster, expenses are incurred on emergency basis and agencies meet the expenses from their annual budget. The agencies later claim for a reimbursement from the Ministry of Finance through the Department of Disaster Management. “The agencies have to submit documents and detailed accounts to the National Disaster Management Authority which will review and forward the request to the Department of National Budget for reimbursement.”

He said that since the Act covered budget allocation and funding for recovery and reconstruction, the current practice should be continued as disaster is unpredictable and would be difficult to estimate budget for disaster.

Phurpa Lhamo