Build back better
Relief monies are available and we must be very careful how they are spent. All of it should be channelled to the productive sector. Monies given without responsibility and accountability hardly accomplish the task we expect of them.
While we have the noble idea to make funds available to those in the Red and Orange Zones, only those who are willing to invest wisely should have access to those funds.
Many may wish to resume the businesses they previously operated. Low or no interest loans is the better way to go because the funding is limited and we need to find a way to extend it for much of the recovery period. The emphasis should be on recovery jobs so that the displaced people can resume their normal lives with a sustainable livelihood. Receiving monies with no obligation is like trying to fill a bottomless pit or hoping to fill a basket with water. The recipients will never be satisfied and the source donors will not be either.
Disbursement of funds should be community based with Credit Unions and Banks managing through a physical presence in the Red Zone. Those wishing to relocate should also have access to concessionary loan funding.
Some of the funds should be used to improve the road network, communication network, Volcano Monitoring System. Lava Man should be a part of the program. There is much opportunity in power washing and such a business should be encouraged and funded. However, initiatives should come from individuals who are willing to work for what they want.
Creative ways must be found to allow people who have been displaced to work in the recovery process and in this way gain the finances to help to put their lives back in order. A better work attitude can be cultivated by the way we disburse, and account for relief funds.
Anthony Stewart, PhD