January 19: The government of Switzerland has provided grant assistance of Rs 1 billion to the government of Province 1to implement the ‘Provincial Aid Program’.
This is the first assistance agreement signed by a provincial government with a foreign donor after federalization of the country. This agreement was signed with the approval of the central government.
The total budget for the ‘Provincial Aid Program’ is Rs 1.2 billion out of which, the Swiss government will contribute Rs 1 billion and the Province 1 government will put in the remaining Rs 200 million. The objective of the four-year program is to build the capacity of the provincial government to carry out equitable development and effectively deliver public services. The program is also expected to support strategic partnerships between the provincial and local governments, help build inclusive and participatory policies and contribute to the development of resources and processes.
The agreement was signed by Elisabeth von Capeller, ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal and Shree Krishna Nepal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Finance at the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers, Province 1, Biratnagar. Minister for Finance Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada and Chief Minister of Province 1 Sher Dhan Rai were also present at the signing event.
Finance Minister Khatiwada called the signing of the grant assistance agreement historic. Ambassador Capeller stated that provinces were the engines for driving federalism forward and expressed her happiness at being able to assist at the provincial level itself.