Accelerating the execution of ongoing and new investment projects is a priority to address the country’s serious physical and social infrastructure deficit, according to higher official at the development partner.
“It is a means to attain higher economic growth and much-needed employment opportunities in Nepal, said director-general of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Department Juan Miranda, during his three-day visit to Nepal.
“The country needs to resolve the crippling power crisis and improve air and road connectivity to integrate Nepal with neighboring economies,” he said, adding that there is also a need to provide water and other services to rural and urban populations. “This will unleash higher and more inclusive economic growth.”
Miranda, who visited the country with deputy director general of the South Asia Department Hun Kim met with key government officials, including the ministers and secretaries of Finance, Agriculture, Energy, Physical Infrastructure and Transport, and Urban Development Ministries, and the chief secretary, and development partners and private sector representatives. Miranda also jointly chaired a Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting (TPRM) with finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and discussed with secretaries, heads of departments, and project directors the progress and actions to accelerate the implementation of ADB-assisted projects.
During the review meeting, the government and ADB agreed on measures to accelerate project execution and disburse more than $200 million in 2014.
Likewise, during the meeting with the private sector, he focused on priority areas like energy, infrastructure, agribusiness and tourism. “The country needs to attract much higher private sector investment to create jobs, especially for the young,” he said, adding that it requires better business environment.
Miranda and this team also visited the Melamchi Water Supply Project site.
He commended all the parties involved in the project -contractors, engineers and the government – for their strong partnership. The project is on course for completion in 2016.
“This is a true transformational project, which will improve the quality of lives of many people,” Miranda added.
According to ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy (2013-2017) approved by its board in October 2013, Nepal has maintained an average real GDP growth of four per cent over the past decade. However, to achieve higher, sustainable, and inclusive growth, for which Nepal has the potential, the country needs to substantially enhance the quantity and quality of capital spending and attract private investments in crucial physical and social infrastructures.
The strategy also focused on facilitating institutional reforms and capacity building to support these objectives.