WB to provide Rs 8.8 bn grant

Kathmandu, August 26:

The International Development Association (IDA), a soft lending window of the World Bank, today agreed to provide a grant assistance of Rs 8.85 billion to the government of Nepal for the implementation of three different programmes.

Of the total grant assistance, Rs 3.48 billion is being provided to Emergency Peace Support Project, Rs 3.48 billion to Health Sector Programme and Rs 1.88 billion to Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project II.

Rameshwore Prasad Khanal, secretary of the Ministry of Finance, and Susan Goldmark, country director of the World Bank in Nepal, signed separate agreements to this effect on behalf of the government of Nepal and the World Bank, respectively. Finance Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and Isabel Guerrero, vice president of South Asia region of the World Bank, were also present at the signing ceremony. According to the Ministry of Finance, the proposed grant under Emergency Peace Support will finance the costs associated with post-conflict recovery interventions related to the peace process.

The grant will help in financing agreed payments and reintegration interventions to selected groups affected by the conflict, including families of those killed as a result of the conflict, conflict-related widows and orphans, and disabled people, financing agreed periodic payments

to individual Maoists in cantonments and capacity building and technical assistance to the government to perform its peace building, reintegration and rehabilitation functions.

Similarly, Health Sector Program would help scale up a well performing sector-wide programme and enhance its impact. A statement issued at the press conference said: “The main objectives of the programmes are to strengthen service delivery and institutional capacity and management development in the Ministry of Health and Population. The geographic coverage of essential services also will be expanded, and policies aimed at increasing access of the poor will be more systematically implemented.”

It further added that the proposed additional financing under the Second Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (RWSSP II) aims to scale up RWSSP II activities, which began in 2005. The primary objectives of this project are to improve rural water supply ad sanitation sector institutional performance and mainstream the ‘Fund Board’ approach in the government’s system, and to support communities to form inclusive local water supply and sanitation infrastructure that deliver sustainable health, hygiene and productivity benefits to rural households.