ADB concerned over slow pace of development in Nepal

KATHMANDU: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed grave concerns over 'slow implementation' of the development projects funded by it in Nepal.

Some ADB high officials expressed this worry during the Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting of the development projects implemented with the loan or grant assistance provided by the ADB here today.

Among the key challenges of development projects as identified in the meeting are: weak project management capacity of executing/implementing agencies, delay in procurement and disbursement, high risk in procurement and contract administration, poor contractor and consultant performance and weak inter-agency coordination.

It pointed out the challenges related to environment/forest clearance, land acquisition, aggregates and coordination with other utilities. The meeting also recommended various actions for addressing these challenges.

ADB Country Director for Nepal, Kenichi Yokoyama, said the last year's similar meeting had formulated 22 action plans for the expeditious implementation of four projects in the energy sector; but only 11 of them were implemented.

Likewise, these projects missed seven targets and four action plans were not complied to, he pointed out.

He expressed concerns over the halt of the Tribhuvan International Airport expansion project due to lack of soil, adding that the project management was also weak.

The project has been hampered after the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) filed a case at the Special Court against the government's decision citing it could not provide the soil required for the airport expansion project.

In the meeting today, officials of the concerned Nepali authorities acknowledged that the pace of implementation of the development projects could not be sped up due to domestic and external reasons. They said they have given special emphasis on inter-ministry coordination and cooperation in carrying out the projects.