Finance Minister asks ADB to invest in infrastructure

Finance Minister asks ADB to invest in infrastructure

The government has asked a development partner to invest in infrastructure projects in Nepal. In a meeting with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) high-level visiting delegation at his office today, finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat asked the multilateral donor to be flexible in its aid policy and focus on infrastructure. Since the country is still in transition, the ADB should treat Nepal carefully, he said, adding that the government has been trying to fix the economy. "The government is planning to expedite the capital expenditure." A seven-member team of the ADB’s board of directors is on a six-day visit to Nepal on March 1-6. This is the first time in five-and-a-half years that a delegation of the ADB’s board of directors is visiting Nepal as it is the Board’s fifth visit to Nepal, the last being in June 2008, the ADB said. The visiting team met with finance minister, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, chief secretary, finance secretary and other senior government officials and discussed ways to achieve and sustain higher economic growth and job creation with effective use of external assistance, and to achieve the longer term goal of poverty reduction. The ADB said that it will only provide loans citing Nepal’s enhanced debt repayment capacity. The country’s outstanding external debt currently stands at 17 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The delegation commending the progress made to move towards political stability also discussed on building stronger capacities to enhance project implementation performance, governance systems, and enabling environment to support private sector investments in Nepal. The delegation is also holding consultations with civil society, the private sector and development partners to discuss the country’s development prospects and challenges and explore opportunities for closer cooperation. They will visit various ADB-assisted projects in Kathmandu, Melamchi, and Lumbini and interact with the project staff and a range of stakeholders, according to the ADB office in Kathmandu. The delegation – comprised of executives directors Mario Sander and Maliami Bin Hamad, and alternate executive directors Rene Legrand, Iqbal Mahmood, Richard Sisson, Christina Wedekull and Guoqi Wu – expects to gain greater understanding of Nepal's development needs and challenges, become better acquainted with ADB's activities in Nepal, and observe the impact of ADB’s assistance. ADB’s Board of Directors supervise financial statements, approve the bank’s administrative budget, and review and approve all policy documents, and all loan, equity, and technical assistance operations. Based in Manila ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region.
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