The Government of Nepal and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are conducting a 2-day country portfolio review meeting to assess the progress and proactively address issues of ADB-supported development projects in Nepal for timely delivery of development results.
Nepal Finance Minister Janardan Sharma and ADB Country Director for Nepal Arnaud Cauchois jointly chaired a session on sector and project performance, attended by Secretaries of the Government of Nepal, senior officials, project directors, and staff from ADB’s Nepal Resident Mission.
“We appreciate the leadership of the Ministry of Finance to identify and address risks and constraints to improving project implementation through regular country portfolio review meetings, with active participation of line ministries and relevant agencies,” said Mr. Cauchois.
ADB’s operations in Nepal is growing and as of end 2021, ADB’s active portfolio to the country stands at around $3.4 billion with 30 investment projects. Last year, ADB committed $255 million—including $165 million for vaccine loan. ADB expects to commit more than $932 million in 2022 depending on readiness that can be achieved under the 9-pipeline project/programs being considered for signing this year.
“Higher lending needs to be matched with good project performance to ensure tangible development results on the ground. We fully understand the challenges faced by the project teams because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and appreciate their efforts in project implementation despite the challenges. Moving forward, we hope the specific actions agreed during the review mission will ensure timely project completion,” said Mr. Cauchois.
ADB disbursed $272.9 million in 2021, which is higher compared to the same period the previous year. Of the net available funding amount of $3.4 billion for 30 investment projects, 66% have been contracted out and 42% have been disbursed as of 31 December 2021. The contract award achievement was $431.5 million, which showed improvement compared to the same period in 2020.
At a special ceremony held in conjunction with the meeting, Nepal Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini presented awards to ADB-supported projects that showed excellent results in 2021. The Disaster Resilience of Schools Project, the Community Managed Irrigated Agriculture Sector – Additional Financing, and the Rural Connectivity Improvement Project won outstanding project management teams awards. These project teams were recognized for their excellence in effective project management despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for prioritizing gender equality, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and social safeguards.
Since the start of its operations in Nepal in 1969, ADB has provided about $7.3 billion in financial and technical assistance to the country. The assistance focus on infrastructure, including water supply and urban infrastructure, energy, and transport; agriculture, natural resources and rural development; education, including earthquake reconstruction; finance; and support for COVID-19 vaccine procurement this year.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.