Tuesday, August 7, 2018

World Bank approves $100mn to help deepen financial sector reforms

Nepal’s quest to secure a stable path to federalism and an inclusive and prosperous future found strong support today when the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors discussed a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Nepal for the next five years.
The Board also approved a fourth Financial Sector Stability Development Policy Credit (DPC4) of $100 million to help Nepal continue to deepen its medium-term reform programme in the financial sector.
Nepal is undergoing a historic transition, the World Bank press note reads, adding that the new Consitution adopted in 2015 defines Nepal as a democratic, decentralised, federal and secular republic. "The country’s 2017 elections at the federal, provincial and local levels resulted in a super majority government for the first time in its parliamentary history." Welcoming the prospects of stability, the World Bank Group – in the Country Partnership Framework – pledges its support to strengthen institutions that are critical to the effective implementation of federalism, as well as innovative pathways to faster, equitable growth and accountable service delivery.
“Nepal’s transition to federalism unlocks opportunities for all citizens to participate in its development,” said the World Bank country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Qimiao Fan. "This represents a window of opportunity for the country to further reduce poverty, increase the income of the bottom 40 per cent, and pursue its ambitious agenda of inclusive growth and accountable service delivery,” he added.
The Country Partnership Framework notes that the federalism agenda will underpin the World Bank Group’s future programmes at the strategic, policy and operational levels. It also cautions that transitional vulnerabilities could heighten in the early days of federalism as development roles are adjusted and the new structures take root.
Against this background, the Country Partnership Framework focuses on three areas of engagement including strengthening public institutions for economic management, service delivery and public investment; promoting private sector-led jobs and growth; and enhancing inclusion for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised groups, with greater resilience against climate change, natural disasters, and other exogenous shocks.
It priorities emerged from extensive consultations with the federal, state and local governments, development partners and key stakeholders including civil society, academia, the private sector, rural community groups and the media. This includes hearing from over 200,000 citizens across Nepal through SMS and online surveys. The framework aligns with the government’s development priorities and Nepal’s goal to graduate to middle income country status by 2030.
“This partnership strategy with the World Bank supports our goal of giving every Nepali equal access to security, justice, good governance, basic services, and an opportunity to participate in our future prosperity,” said finance minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, who is currently in the Washington DC taking part in World Bank meeting. "The new partnership strategy with the World Bank Group is focused on supporting our transition to federalism, fits squarely within our vision and underpins a Nepali-owned model.”
The Country Partnership Framework notes that Nepal will require significant financing – over and above public and development aid resources currently available – to achieve faster growth and accelerate poverty reduction in the context of its transition to federalism. The World Bank Group will apply ‘Maximising Financing for Development’ approaches to optimise the use of scarce public resources and leverage commercial private financing in Nepal. The Country Partnership Framework states that the government’s development model of growth fueled by higher levels of investment, productivity and effective public institutions to underpin private sector dynamism will require carefully calibrated reforms to draw in private investment in parallel with the implementation of federalism.
“We will expand our investments – both debt as well as equity – and advisory services for private investment in Nepal,” said International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) country head for Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan Wendy Werner. "Our efforts will encourage high-quality private investors to support the government’s strategy of inclusive development.”
The Financial Sector Stability Development Policy Credit (DPC4) of $100 million, approved by the World Bank Board today, is the final in a series of financial sector DPCs that was initiated in 2013 and has since supported a government-led programme aimed at stabilising the sector by reducing vulnerabilities and increasing transparency. In this phase, the programme has focused on implementing key reforms through a strengthened legal and regulatory framework, consolidating the financial sector, placing the financial sector safety net on a firm footing and laying the ground for a further programme of reforms to broaden and deepen access to financial services for both business and individuals.

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