KATHMANDU, October 9, 2012—The Government of Nepal and the World Bank carried out a joint review of Bank supported projects in Nepal last week. The meeting, the second joint portfolio review this year, was chaired by Mr. Krishna Hari Baskota, Secretary at the Ministry of Finance. Ms. Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Nepal, led the World Bank team while Mr. Lal Shankar Ghimire, Joint Secretary/Chief FACD Ministry of Finance coordinated the proceedings. Senior Government of Nepal officials from various ministries attended the meeting.
The World Bank currently supports 17 projects in Nepal through concessional and grant financing amounting to US$ 1.3 billion. The meeting noted Nepal’s good development results including progress in poverty reduction, gender parity in education, reduction in maternal mortality, improved infrastructure access among others. The World Bank has been supporting Nepal in all these areas. The meeting reviewed ten projects considered risky and slow-moving or heading to closure later in the year. The review noted that delays in the announcement of a full budget posed a serious risk to implementation and would affect performance and results. It also identified the frequent and untimely transfer of project staff, weaknesses in financial and procurement management, and limited performance monitoring as additional areas of concern. Regular review meetings focus on unlocking implementation issues to enable the projects to accomplish results.
Welcoming the World Bank as a large and stable development partner, Secretary Baskota said budget allocations will be made available on time and implementation of five projects closing in 2013 will be accelerated, ensuring proper utilization of the remaining amounts available under these projects. He also offered organizing a high-level meeting to address implementation issues, including compliance with social and environment safeguards, which is slowing down progress in the energy sector.
“Nepal’s achievements in the areas of health, education and livelihoods have made a positive impact on people’s lives, especially girls and women” said Ms Sayed. She welcomed the Ministry of Finance and line Ministries’ commitment to expedite implementation, curtail staff transfers and unlock the issues impeding progress in the energy sector projects.