Conflict delays ADB-aided development projects

Kathmandu, May 29 :

Dr Bhoj Raj Ghimire, secretary at the ministry of finance today said that there had been a delay in implementing Asian Development Bank (ADB) sponsored development projects due to ‘conflict and other snags’.

Dr Ghimire presented awards to the representatives of Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project, Teachers Education Project and Rural Microfinance Project assisted by ADB. Dr Ghimire, while speaking at the ceremony for the Outstanding Project Implementation Performance organised by ADB, said that development projects have suffered from a ‘slow implementing process’.

He offered administrative help to those development projects to keep them going at a full swing for better productivity and generate impressive results. He said that delayed implementation had incurred millions of rupees in losses and would incur more losses if we do not pay serious heed to this in time. Dr Ghimire asked ADB for help to cope with budgetary difficulties. He said that ADB should expand and scale up financial assistance to Nepal by exploring new avenues at this critical juncture. He said that projects such as rural roads, electrification and micro-enterprises could be lucrative projects in Nepal at this point of time.

Dr Sultan Hafeez Rahman, ADB ‘s country director for Nepal said that recent political changes require improved service delivery of the development activities to people and improve implementation of the conflict-sensitive ADB-assisted projects.

Dr Rahman said that in the bimonthly project implementation review meeting in January 2006, the bank found remarkable improvements in key portfolio indicators in contract awards, disbursements and net resource transfer. He further said that for the evaluation of the performance of the project team, MoF and ADB NRM had introduced two new evaluation criteria – quality of project management and monitoring and evaluation.

Under the Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project, water supply system and sanitation conditions in 31 small towns with average population of about 18,000 is being improved.

As a follow up to ADB’s primary education development project, the Teachers Education Project is assisting the government in improving the quality and efficiency of basic education thr-ough better qualified teachers.

The rural Micro Finance Project did receive the award for the fourth time which has been focusing on enhancing socio-economic status of women by building skills, providing credit for income generating activities and strengthening micro-finance institutions. ADB says after a continuous deterioration since 2001, Nepal’s portfolio performance improved markedly in 2005 when resource transfer to Nepal turned positive for the first time in four years. ADB expects to further improve the portfolio performance with strengthened project teams.