The delay in the full-fledged budget, frequent and untimely transfer of project staff, and weaknesses in financial and procurement management, coupled with limited performance monitoring have posed a serious risk to implementing World Bank-funded projects, affecting their performance and results.
"However, regular review meetings could help unlock implementation issues to enable the projects to accomplish their results," according to participants of the government and World Bank joint review meeting of World Bank supported projects in the country.
The World Bank currently supports 17 projects in Nepal through concessional and grant financing amounting to $1.3 billion. But the meeting reviewed 10 projects that are considered risky and slow-moving, or heading towards closure later in the year.
"Nepal’s achievements in the areas of health, education and livelihoods have made a positive impact on people’s lives, especially girls and women," said World Bank country manager for Nepal Tahseen Sayed, who led the bank's team.
She welcomed the commitment made by the Finance Ministry and line ministries to expedite implementation, curtail staff transfers, and unlock the issues impeding progress in energy sector projects.
This year's second joint portfolio review meeting — that was coordinated by joint secretary and chief of the Foreign Aid Coordination Division at the finance ministry Lal Shankar Ghimire and chaired by finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota – noted Nepal’s good development results including progress in poverty reduction, gender parity in education, reduction in maternal mortality, and improved infrastructure access.
The World Bank has been supporting Nepal in poverty reduction, gender parity in education, reduction in maternal mortality, and improved infrastructure access.
Welcoming the World Bank as a large and stable development partner, Baskota said that budget allocations will be made available on time, and implementation of five projects that will end in 2013 will be accelerated, ensuring proper utilisation of the remaining amount available under these projects.
He also offered organising a high-level meeting to address implementation issues, including compliance with social and environment safeguards, which is slowing down progress in the energy sector.
According to the Finance Ministry, World Bank — that has contributed 23.7 per cent of the total disbursement — was the largest donor among the development partners in fiscal year 2010-11.
The top five multilateral donors were the World Bank Group ($ 256.1 million), Asian Development Bank ($184.4 million), United Nations Country Team ($112.5 million), European Union ($42.4 million) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ($19 million) in 2010-11, the ministry added.