Saturday, August 28, 2021

Government, World Bank concludes portfolio performance review

The joint portfolio review of the government and the World Bank concluded yesterday covering 27 ongoing World Bank-financed projects with a net commitment of $3.27 billion.

The concluding meeting was chaired by finance secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini and World Bank country director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Faris Hadad-Zervos in the presence of finance minister Janardan Sharma and vice chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr Biswo Poudel.

Highlighting the perspective of general citizens on government projects, finance minister Sharma instructed the completion of projects within the stipulated time while maintaining quality. He also urged to utilize scientific tools and techniques for project implementation.

The concluding meeting was held at the Finance Ministry with a hybrid model consisting of in-person as well as virtual presence considering the health protocol. The meeting discussed on issues that remain unresolved at the line ministry level and of strategic importance which required high level attention.

The meeting also discussed the impacts of Covid-19 on project implementation that had led to delays. In addition, other generic implementation issues like weak capacity in project management especially at provincial and local levels, frequent turnover of civil servants, procurement delays, safeguard related issues, and slow disbursement were discussed.

Focusing on coordinated and joint efforts for delivering development impacts, finance secretary Marasini requested the participants to build a common understanding to improve the overall implementation environment of the projects.

The annual stocktaking exercise is organised to review the performance of ongoing projects, review implementation challenges, and identify measures to resolve such challenges collaboratively. Sectoral meetings that were organised with the relevant line ministries under the chair of respective secretaries discussed in depth key results achieved under each project, underlying issues and challenges, and agreed actions to resolve such issues.

The World Bank’s current project portfolio in Nepal covers energy, transport, earthquake housing reconstruction, education, health, social protection, environment, urban development, water and irrigation, agriculture and livestock, and public financial management sectors.

"While the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the pace of development works in Nepal, we are encouraged by the government’s efforts to strengthen implementation and deliver results amid the pandemic’s challenges," World Bank country director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Faris Hadad-Zervos. "The pandemic has also provided an opportunity to recalibrate our approach to improve project implementation and capital spending, whereby our projects deliver timely results for the benefit of Nepalis."

The portfolio review was attended by secretaries, joint secretaries, and director generals from related ministries and departments, National Planning Commission (NPC), Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), and representatives from the World Bank and project teams.

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