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ADB to augment investment on development projects

By Sharachchandra Bhandary
Sarachchandra BhandaryThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said it would increase investment substantially in the development projects that Nepal government has attached utmost priority. Lauding the better performance in implementing projects ADB publicly announced that it would augment the assistance amount for the year 2017-2019.
During a Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting (TPRM) on the development projects run by Nepal government and ADB, Deputy Director General at South Asia Department of the bank  Diwesh Sharan said ADB was planning the investment of some Rs 89.44 billion for the coming three years . Assessing the performance the bank would provide Rs 37.73 billion additionally to meet the aspirations of Nepali people.He said ADB’s portfolio in Nepal was growing; and as of end 2016, cumulative assistance, since its operation in 1969 in Nepal, stands at 4.9 billion dollars and the active net portfolio stands at almost 2.0 billion dollars for 34 investment projects.
“I congratulate Ministry of Finance, executing agencies and all project teams for the exemplary performance demonstrated in 2016 with recovery from 2015 loss due to earthquake and trade disruptions,” he said, adding, “In 2016, Nepal portfolio’s financial performance in terms of contract award totaled 359 million dollars and disbursement totaled 202 million dollars, both highest in ADB’s operational history in Nepal. Enhanced readiness of new projects and strong project leadership in some projects has contributed to this achievement.”
Since Nepal became its member in 1969, ADB has been gradually increasing the assistance to Nepal. It has provided the loan of Rs 80.20 billion under 25 different devekopmet projects  while Rs 34.74 billion as grants and Rs 3.72 billion for the projects run on technical assistance.
Finance Secretary Shantaraj Subedi admitted that although the government has continued untiring efforts for effective implementation of the projects, the projects are not run smoothly and not up to the mark. Such is the case not only in the ADB-funded projects but also in the development endeavours undertaken by the government and development partners, he added.
Pointing out various weaknesses behind the lackadaisical project implementation, he sought suggestions to the existing mechanisms as Chief Secretary-led project implementation and facilitation committee to wipe out the mistakes.
Bhagbanda must be refrained
ADB’s Country Director, Kenichi Yokoyama, urged the political parties and government agencies to shun the practice of so-called ‘bhagbanda’ by all means to ensure timely project execution.
He further said the rapid progress of flagship projects such as Melamchi and SASEC power and transport projects are the testament. “So I would like to emphasize to all the policy decision makers and the media, to advocate and ensure that Project Directors of high priority projects are deployed from among the most competent staffs of the implementing agencies,” Yokoyama underscored.The Country Director also informed that the Melamchi project would be completed in eight months.
“I hope that the TPRM will discuss and agree on critical issues related with high-attention projects, such as how we ensure timely completion of the Melamchi and Kathmandu water distribution projects to deliver water to Kathmandu by Oct 2017 while advancing reforms of KUKL and addressing environmental concerns; and how we bring the problem projects such as TIA that is under deep trouble despite urgency of completing the works amidst heavy air traffic congestion, back on track; among others,” he reminded at the meeting.
On the occasion best project management team award for 2016 was bestowed to   Melamchi Water Supply Project, Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project, SASEC Power System Expansion Project while best Project Team- Procumbent Process award was conferred to SASEC Power System Expansion Project. Likewise, Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project bagged the best project team- environmental monitoring award and Electricity Transmission, Expansion and Supply Improvement Project received the best project team- gender equality and social inclusion.

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