Kathmandu, November 20

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has stressed on the need to ensure capable leadership at projects and focus on implementation to execute projects on time.

Speaking at the Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting of ADB-supported projects in Nepal today, ADB’s Country Director for Nepal Mukhtor Khamudkhanov said, “The Gautam Buddha International Airport under the South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project is a good example of how leadership and improved implementation arrangement can positively impact the progress of a project.

It is one of the projects that has met both its contract awards and disbursement targets for this year.”

The meeting was organised to improve project implementation, which will help deliver timely and effective development results on the ground.

“We also appreciate the active participation of all stakeholders in the portfolio review. ADB values its partnership with the government and the leadership shown by the government to improve project implementation for successful and timely development outcomes,” added Khamudkhanov.

The ADB disbursed $227.3 million in the first 10 months (January to October) of 2019, which is higher compared to the same period last year. Of the net available funding amount of $2.96 billion spread over 31 investment projects and two programme loans, 54 per cent has been contracted out and 55 per cent has been disbursed as of October 31.

Meanwhile, Revenue Secretary Sishir Dhungana said that the challenge remains in ensuring speed and efficiency in project delivery, and such review meetings provide an excellent platform to highlight key issues of project implementation and agree on critical actions.

“The executing and implementing agencies should be more sensitive for timely completion of the projects so as to get the expected results on the ground,” he said.

The ADB has recently approved its latest country partnership strategy for Nepal, 2020-24, which focuses on three priority areas — improved infrastructure for private sector-led growth, improved access to devolved services, and environmental sustainability and resilience. Under the new strategy, ADB expects to lend an estimated $500 million to $600 million on an average from 2020 to 2022.

“As the volume of lending increases and the portfolio grows in the future, it is even more important that we pay attention to timely contract awards and disbursements.

Successful project implementation is key to bringing results on the ground and improving the lives of Nepali people,” said Khamudkhanov, adding that the ADB will continue to help executing and implementing agencies to strengthen their capacity to plan, design, and implement ADB projects.