Laxmi Capital News
Project targets being met well, but challenges remain ADB

The government has made a record highachievement in meeting target of both contract award and disbursement for theAsian Development Bank (ADB)-supported projects in 2017. 

According to the ADB, the government hasachieved 82 percent, or $436, out of total target amount of $533 million lastyear. 

Similarly, the disbursement progress stoodat 88 percent, or $298 million, out of the total target of Rs 339 million inthe same year, showing signs that the implementation of projects on the groundhave also improved. 

Senior ADB and government officials seemedto be upbeat with the progress. 

They said that the progress in contractaward and disbursement was due to readiness of new projects and closermonitoring of implementation. 

“These figures demonstrate a significantupward trend that can be attributed to advance procurement actions as part ofthe readiness filter approved by the Ministry of Finance, utilization ofproject preparation facilities, and procurement reform within ADB and Nepal’sPublic Procurement Monitoring Office,” said Diwesh Sharan, deputy directorgeneral at the South Asia Department of ADB, addressing the opening ceremony ofCountry Portfolio Review Meeting of ADB supported projects organized onFriday. 

Though there was some progress infinancial performance, particularly the contract award and disbursement, theofficials see challenges in the physical progress on some of the criticalprojects like Melamchi Water Supply Project and Gautam Buddha InternationalAirport project. 

“The challenge is to deliver water toKathmandu in 2018 while advancing Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd reforms andaddressing environmental concerns,” said Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, country directorat the ADB Nepal Resident Mission, while highlighting some ongoing challengesfaced in the implementation of ADB-financed projects. 

According to the ADB, the approved lendingfor Nepal has increased from an annual average of around $300 million per yearduring 2014-2016 to $421 million in 2017.

“The resource envelope in 2019 and beyondwill depend on country performance assessment and portfolio performance,” addedKhamudkhanov.

Also speaking at the periodic reviewmeeting that brings all stakeholders together to review the performance of theprojects, progress made and remaining gaps and discuss on project-specificactions to meet the target, Shankar Prasad Adhikari, secretary at the Ministryof Finance, said that the country has been encountering similar problems ofproject implementation for a long time. 

“We have noted that implementationchallenges are associated with the ongoing government restructuring process,inadequate budget release in the third trimester and other systemic issues suchas deputation of competent project staff, capacity building and weak contract management,”he added. 

ADB’s active portfolio in Nepal stands atalmost $2.4 billion, with 29 loans amounting to $2.1 billion and 18 investmentgrants amounting to $292.5 million as of December 2017.

Source : MyRepublica 25thFeb 2018

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