Improving performance, key to getting more development funds: ADB official

KATHMANDU: Improving project implementation performance is the key to Nepal getting more funds for development, Asian Development Bank official said.

“ADB has increased the annual lending level to Nepal from about $254 million a year on average during 2014-2016 to an annual average of $551 million in 2017-2018,” ADB Deputy Director General for South Asia Diwesh Sharan said while adding that improved portfolio performance would help the country to sustain and further tap opportunities of increased lending space provided by ADB.

Speaking at the opening of the annual Tripartite Portfolio Review of ADB operations in Nepal on Friday, Shree Krishna Nepal, Joint Secretary and Chief, International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division, Ministry of Finance said that the ongoing federalism implementation process has posed some challenges along with the current inadequate fiduciary, technical, and project supervision capacity.

“Nevertheless, a realistic action plan to remove key constraints could accelerate the project implementation performance of the ADB-funded projects,” he added.

Nepal also urged project staff to examine the implementation constraints, expedite the procurement process, and submit disbursement requests to ADB within the agreed deadline to achieve the projected 2018 targets.

According to ADB, after recording the highest disbursement and contract awards in 2016 and 2017, the overall performance of ADB operations in Nepal has been lagging behind in 2018. Of the net available funding amount of $2.8 billion spread over 36 investment projects (31 loans and 5 grants), 44 per cent is still to be contracted and 64 per cent is still to be disbursed.

“We will continue to tackle the systemic constraints as well as project-specific problems with strong partnership with the government,” said Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, ADB’s Country Director for Nepal. “With these efforts, and with major contracts to be awarded in December 2018, we are hopeful that the annual contract awards and disbursements will substantially increase.”