Kathmandu — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual lending to Nepal hit a record high in 2018, but disbursement has been lagging. ADB’s total lending in 2018 reached $592 million and technical assistance at $8.01 million (including $5.31 million in cofinancing) for projects in transport, urban development and water supply, energy, rural roads, agriculture, and natural resources.
“This is a substantial increase from the $253 million a year on average lending during 2014–2016 that demonstrates ADB’s strong commitment to Nepal’s economic development and improving the lives of its people,” said ADB’s Deputy Director General for South Asia Mr. Diwesh Sharan, speaking at a country portfolio review meeting jointly organized by ADB and the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Sharan also said ADB’s portfolio performance in Nepal has shown good progress in recent years, but contract awards and disbursement could be better. In 2018, disbursements, as a measure of actual project implementation progress on the ground, totaled $246.7 million, excluding cofinancing, and met 80% of the original target. Of the net available funding amount of $2.8 billion spread over 36 investment projects, 61% is still to be disbursed.
“Nepal has entered into a federal structure, which can considerably improve service delivery to the people,” said Mr. Sharan. “But there is a gap in capacity both at the central and the sub-national government levels that needs to be addressed for timely and successful project implementation. This in turn will improve services that people receive on the ground.”
At a special ceremony held in conjunction with the meeting, Finance Secretary Mr. Rajan Khanal presented awards to ADB-supported projects that showed excellent results. The projects that won outstanding project management teams awards are the Rural Connectivity Improvement Project, the Skills Development Project, and the Regional Urban Development Project.
The Disaster Resilience of Schools Project was awarded in the category of best team for procurement management. The Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project-Additional Financing received the best team awards in the categories of environmental and social safeguard monitoring and gender equality and social inclusion.
“These awards recognize the project teams’ efforts in achievement of targets and ensuring that the environment, social safeguards, and gender equality and social inclusion aspects were also considered during project implementation,” said ADB Country Director for Nepal Mr. Mukhtor Khamudkhanov. “All these are critical for results on the ground that promote socially inclusive development.”
Since 1966, ADB has approved assistance totaling $5.8 billion for Nepal. ADB’s portfolio consists of 36 projects amounting to $2.8 billion and 18 technical assistance projects worth $26.4 million.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.