Kathmandu, March 8
The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s annual lending to Nepal hit a record high in 2018, however disbursement was comparatively low.
At the country portfolio review meeting of the Asian regional development bank held today, ADB said that its total lending in 2018 reached $592 million and technical assistance stood at $8.01 million for projects in transport, urban development and water supply, energy, rural roads, agriculture, and natural resources.
Diwesh Sharan, ADB’s deputy director general for South Asia, said that this was a substantial increase from the $253 million a year on average lending to Nepal during 2014–2016. “It demonstrates ADB’s strong commitment to Nepal’s economic development and improving the lives of its people.” Sharan also stated ADB’s portfolio performance in Nepal has shown good progress in recent years, but contract awards and disbursement could be better.
In 2018, disbursements, as a measure of actual project implementation progress on the ground, totalled $246.7 million, excluding co-financing, and met 80 per cent of the original target. Of the net available funding amount of $2.8 billion spread over 36 investment projects, 61 per cent is still to be disbursed.
“Nepal has entered into a federal structure, which can considerably improve service delivery to the people,” said Sharan, adding that there is however a gap in capacity both at the central and the sub-national government levels that needs to be addressed for timely and successful project implementation.
On the occasion, Rajan Khanal, secretary at the Ministry of Finance, presented awards to ADB-supported projects that showed excellent results. The projects that won outstanding project management team awards are the Rural Connectivity Improvement Project, the Skills Development Project, and the Regional Urban Development Project.
“These awards recognise the project teams’ efforts in achievement of targets and ensuring that the environment, social safeguards, and gender equality and social inclusion aspects were also considered during project implementation,” said ADB’s Country Director for Nepal Mukhtor Khamudkhanov.
As per ADB, it has approved assistance totalling $5.8 billion for Nepal since 1996. Currently, ADB’s portfolio consists of 36 projects amounting to $2.8 billion and 18 technical assistance projects worth $26.4 million. In 2018, ADB made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.
A version of this article appears in print on March 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.