Kathmandu, March 28: Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Wencai Zhang has said that the ADB was ready to provide additional support for post-earthquake reconstruction if the Government of Nepal wanted to. Speaking in a news conference organised by ADB country office here today, he said the ADB would provide approximately Rs 6 billion additional support for reconstruction if Nepal deemed it necessary.
The ADB has expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in the reconstruction works in the earthquake-affected districts and in the distribution of relief to the victims.
Zhang said that during his meetings held separately with Prime Minister KP Oli, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Poudel, Minister for Culture,Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel, the National Planning Commission (NOC) vice-chairman Dr Yubraj Khatiwada and high government officials, he urged them to expedite the post-quake reconstruction works and speed upADB-funded projects.
Meanwhile, the ADB stated that Vice President Zhang, currently on a 4-day visit to Nepal, in his meeting with high government officials and discussed how Nepal could accelerate its economic recovery and develop plans for sustained higher growth.
“There is an urgent need to accelerate reconstruction and implementation of development programmes to prevent furrther slowdown in growth and to ensure rapid recovery,” Mr Zhang said.
During his meetings, the ADB Vice President welcomed the finalization of the Reconstruction Policy and NRAGrant Guidelines, and progress towards the formulation of Post Disaster Risk Recovery Framework, following the recent establishment of the NRA and the appointment of its Chief Executive Officer, the ADB news release states.
ADB forecasts Nepal’s economy to grow 1.5 percent in FY2016 ending on 15 July 2016 after 3 percent growth last year, due to the severe earthquake in April 2015, aftershocks, and subsequent supply disruptions. ADB expects growth will pick up to 4.8 percent in FY2017.
Mr Zhang added, “To expedite unhindered implementation of reconstruction works, the NRA needs to release sufficient budget immediately, enforce fast-track decision making, and adopt building-back-better principles and innovative approaches for time and cost-efficiency.”
Under ADB’s country partnership strategy with Nepal for 2013-2017, ADB is prioritizing major investments in hydropower generation and transmission, enhancing the capacity of international airports, building new economic corridors to promote regional trade, and reforming higher education systems.
ADB also stated that it will continue its support for inclusive growth through investments in agricultural diversification and productivity, water supply and sanitation, and rural roads. ADB will also work to attract private sector investment andpublic-private partnerships for large-scale hydropower and transmission projects and high-value agricultural value chains.
In his meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister RRayamajhi, Mr Zhang noted the government’s efforts to address Nepal’s energy crisis. “ADB will build on its existing support in the energy sector and will extend assistance for 25 MWgrid solar power plants and two major storage hydropower projects – the 300 MW Dudhkosi plant and the 410 MW Nalsingh Gadh plant.”
The ADB Vice President also noted the government’s intent to graduate from least developed country status by 2022, and become a middle income country by 2030 while achieving the sustainable development goals.
“This calls for a credible vision and a strategy to achieve it by setting out policies, prioritizing public expenditure and investments to build physical and human capital, improving governance and the business environment, building a competitive industrial base and enhancing regional cooperation and integration. ADB will continue to provide the support for that,” Mr Zhang said
During his visit to Nepal, Mr Zhang visited the project sites of Erathquake Emergency Assistance Project in Kavrepalanchok district as well as the Melamchi Water Supply Project in Sindhupalchowk district. He also participated in the International Seminar on Envisioning Nepal 2030 organised by the National Planning Commission. RSS