Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today. They discussed the Government of Nepal’s development priorities and reviewed collaboration with the World Bank Group in a wide range of areas including post-earthquake housing reconstruction; energy and transport; as well as upcoming programs in health, social protection and the financial sector.
Fan informed Prime Minister Dahal that Nepal can expect a potential increase in concessional financing for the period 2017-2020 provided that the government can improve the quality of its development spending by addressing issues around financial management, procurement, contract management and project staffing.
“The World Bank has allocated US$820 million in concessional credit to Nepal for the period 2014-2016,” said a press release issued by the World Bank.
Prime Minister Dahal expressed appreciation for the World Bank Group’s strategic partnership in key areas of economic development over the years. He mentioned post-earthquake reconstruction and infrastructure development as top economic priorities to complement his government’s focus on implementing the new constitution and concluding the remaining aspects of the peace process. He also mentioned recent efforts at improving the investment climate and the performance of development projects.
Fan welcomed the progress in the distribution and monitoring of housing reconstruction grants and offered additional World Bank assistance if the government maintains the momentum. He complimented the leadership of the National Reconstruction Authority in accelerating first tranche payments to eligible beneficiaries. He suggested that the government expedite programs beyond rural housing to utilize the reconstruction assistance that development partners collectively pledged during the post-earthquake international conference last year.
Noting the importance of connectivity in Nepal’s challenging terrain, Fan offered to continue World Bank support for rural and strategic roads. On energy, Mr. Fan said improvements in the institutional and policy environment would enable the World Bank Group to scale up its assistance in this critical area.
Later today Fan also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. Fan said development partners look forward to an update on the government’s efforts at post-earthquake reconstruction during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC early next month.