Nepal needs over $16b to meet MDGs

Kathmandu, October 17:

If Nepal wants to meet its development goals by 2015, especially as outlined by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and rural infrastructure, it requires $16.4 billion (Rs 1148.8 billion), says a fresh study on Needs Assessment for Nepal, carried out jointly by the National Planning Commission (NPC) and UNDP.

Out of the total government expenses, Rs 263.9 billion ($3.8 billion) has to be borne by sources other than the public sector. The total public sector investment required for achieving MDGs and rural infrastructure targets is Rs 884.9 billion ($12.6 billion) at 2004-05 prices.

Out of this, according to an assessment, Rs 332.9 billion is to be met by the domestic resources (revenues and borrowings) of the government. For the remaining Rs 552.1 billion ($7.9 billion), Nepal will have to rely on external development partners.

Matthew Kahane, UNDP resident representative said that Nepal requires a major increase in donor funding to properly finance development efforts, especially if the nation is to reduce hunger, improve education and meet development goals.

Kahane also said that the international community is willing to invest in well-planned, well-managed and well-monitored national efforts. However, this willingness must be complemented by an environment where national development initiatives can be carried

out impartially and transparently, without threat or intimidation and reach the most disadvantaged.

Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat stated that public institutions will be improved to expedite development initiatives and attain goals by 2015 as per MDGs. He hoped that once the country acquired peace, resources would be generated and development activities will gain momentum.

Mahat, after launching the new report, said that the government is thinking of formulating a long-term vision and is holding consultations with concerned stakeholders. An assessment for achieving MDGs needs to be done and then it must be collectively implemented to achieve our social, economic and political goal, as poverty is deeply rooted and is the biggest challenge for Nepal, Dr Mahat said.

Kahane at the UNDP observed that Nepal, in a critical stage of development efforts intended to deliver services to the country’s most vulnerable groups, is being held back by an increase in breaches of the basic operating guidelines which is a great concern to the UN.

He called for developing necessary skills and capacity to ensure that national

and local institutions are able to meet the requirements and aspirations of people, especially the poor and vulnerable.

He underlined the need to invest heavily to reduce hunger and boost rural industries so that the majority of Nepalis, who live in far-flung places, have better income opportunities.

According to UN, since April 2006, violations of the Basic Operating Guidelines have risen sharply, holding back critical activities intended to deliver services to Nepal’s most vulnerable groups and eroding donor confidence.

As per the report, Nepal has a financing gap of $7.9 billion. Assuming a relatively quick resolution to the current conflict, it would still require double level of financial support by external development partners to bridge this gap.

Dr Bal Gopal Vaidya presented the findings of the ‘Needs Assessment’ report and urged donors to support Nepal financially to achieve development goals in the areas such as agriculture, education, gender, health, drinking water, rural infrastructure, electrification and gender requirement.

Dr Jagdish Pokhrel, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), said to achieve MDGs all concerned institutions such as the government, donors and local bodies should join hands. At the same time, confidence building is urgently needed to expedite development activities, he said.