Kathmandu, September 22
The World Bank is willing to increase concessional financing for Nepal between 2017 and 2020 if the government improves the quality of its development spending.
Qimiao Fan, World Bank country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, informed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal about the same in a meeting here today.
Fan informed PM Dahal that Nepal can expect a potential increase in concessional financing for the period between 2017 to 2020, provided that the government can improve the quality of its development spending by addressing issues around financial management, procurement, contract management and project staffing, reads a press note issued by the World Bank.
The World Bank has allocated $820 million in concessional credit to Nepal for the period of 2014 to 2016.
PM Dahal and Fan discussed Nepal government’s development priorities and reviewed collaboration with the World Bank Group in a wide range of areas including post-earthquake housing reconstruction; energy and transport; as well as upcoming programmes in health, social protection and the financial sector.
PM Dahal expressed appreciation for the World Bank Group’s strategic partnership in key areas of economic development over the years. He mentioned post-earthquake reconstruction and infrastructure development as top economic priorities to complement his government’s focus on implementing the new
constitution and concluding the remaining aspects of the peace process. He also mentioned recent efforts at improving the investment climate and the performance of development projects.
Fan welcomed the progress in the distribution and monitoring of housing reconstruction grants and offered additional World Bank assistance if the government maintains the momentum. He complimented the leadership of the National Reconstruction Authority in accelerating first tranche payments to eligible beneficiaries.
He suggested that the government expedite programmes beyond rural housing to utilise the reconstruction assistance that development partners collectively pledged during the post-earthquake international conference last year, the release adds.
Noting the importance of connectivity in Nepal’s challenging terrain, Fan offered to continue World Bank’s support for rural and strategic roads. On energy, Fan said improvements in the institutional and policy environment would enable the World Bank Group to scale up its assistance in this critical area.
Fan also met Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara later in the day. Fan said development partners look forward
to an update on the government’s efforts at post-earthquake reconstruction during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC early next month.
A version of this article appears in print on September 23, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.