Peace talks excite donor community

Kathmandu, October 13:

Sultan Hafeez Rahman, deputy director of Asian Development Bank (ADB), South Asia Region who was here to participate at the South Asia Regional Forum on MDGs has expressed his happiness over the on-going peace talks.

Donors are keen to see better governance that will help achieve the desired economic growth in a least developed country like Nepal.

Rahman, while talking exclusively to The Himalayan Times, mentioned that successful talks would give ‘productive’ results in terms of improving governance and expediting development efforts for the well-being of Nepali people. He recalled that when he was in Nepal a few months ago, the environment was not so smooth, in comparison to today. Currently, concerned political parties as well as the public mood seem to be very positive. It is more than likely that a lasting peace would be achieved, he said.

ADB continues to be committed and it stands ready to help Nepal effectively in the days ahead, said Rahman. He also recalled that loan and grants are being provided by ADB to different projects including, to Agricultural Development Bank Ltd (ADBL).

Reacting to queries over Nepal’s ability to meet MDG goals by 2015 at a time when there is an absence of strong institutional mechanisms at the local level and service delivery mechanism are weak, Rahman said, “It is true that local bodies were disrupted earlier due to conflict. Now the political process is gradually giving hope for an increased development activities. In such a context, the government has to create some sort of modalities to ensure that service delivery is effectively at the local communities.”

Rahman stressed that service delivery issue must be resolved to spread the fruits of development to all people and to reduce poverty below the desired level. Regarding the recently announced three-year plan of the National Planning Commission (NPC) concentrating

‘reconstruction and rehabilitation’, he said, “That interim plan should be able to incorporate people’s aspirations to win back the confidence of people and get the same implemented for expediting development.”

He was of the view that the government has to develop plans in a manner to treat the annual budget as short term; interim plan as medium term plan and five year or more than that as long term plan for Nepal. He stressed that Nepal should work on a long-term plan like for 15 or 20 years under which development works can be expedited. It has been learnt from ADB sources that it has already proposed for about $ 64 million in loans and grants to the Agricultural Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) for its restructuring.