As Nepal has announced to build major infrastructure projects including road, power sector and airport, the assurance of vice president of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wencai Zhang is very significant.
Before completing his three days visit to Nepal, Vice- President Wencai Zhang expressed ADB’s commitment during his meeting with high government officials including Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
“ADB stands ready to support Nepal in its aspirations to become a prosperous middle-income country by 2030 while achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Zhang addressing the press conference.
Although ADB supported major infrastructure projects are yet to take off as expected, they have been making a big progress recently. With consistent efforts of Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of Nepal Resident Mission, Nepal has made significant progress in projects implementation.
“The current progress is possible because of some dynamic Nepali project chiefs in ADB projects, amendment of procurement act and regulations and ADB’s new directions,” said Kenichi Yokoyama.
During the meetings, Zhang commended the much improved project implementation performance in 2016, achieving $358 million contract award and $201 million disbursement, both highest in ADB’s operational history in Nepal, thanks to enhanced readiness of new projects and efforts to build implementation capacities including faster and more disciplined procurement and contract management.
“ADB has allocated for Nepal $843.8 million for 2017-2019. A further $356 million can be made available over the period for projects contributing to regional cooperation and integration and reduction of disaster risks and fragility, provided that Nepal continues to improve its performance of its ongoing projects,” he added.
The ADB Vice-President also met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation Prem Bahadur Singh, Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma, and Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission Min Bahadur Shrestha.
During the meeting with senior officials, Zhang acknowledged the progress of the Melamchi Water Supply Project and Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project that are likely to start delivering Melamchi water in October 2017, and agreed on maximum mutual efforts to complete the project in time.
In this connection, both sides also agreed on expediting institutional strengthening of the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) including the restructuring of its Board and implementation of the roadmap prepared by its management, such as ICT-based automated water distribution and billing, and deployment of middle managers and additional technical staff.
Zhang said, “On the basis of the advancement of the KUKL reforms to become customer-oriented water provider, ADB is ready to extend assistance for the second Melamchi project to extend tunnel to the Yangri and Larke Rivers to further augment water supply from the tunnel from 170 million liters per day (MLD) to 510 MLD. This will make possible continuous supply of water to people in Kathmandu Valley, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.”
During the meetings, Zhang also renewed ADB’s commitment to support Nepal to prepare long-term socio-economic development vision, strategy, and economic transformation programs towards achieving its goal of becoming a prosperous middle income country by 2030. He also conveyed readiness to support critical regulatory and institutional reforms in energy sector, and associated investments such as 300MW Dudhkoshi hydropower project, and modernization of electricity distribution systems in the Kathmandu Valley.
During his visit to Nepal, Zhang also participated in the Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2017 organized by Confederation of Nepalese Industries and the Government of Nepal, and delivered speeches in its opening plenary attended by Prime Minister, and a business session on enablers for accelerating infrastructure investments chaired by Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak. He also visited the Tanahu Hydropower Project in Tanahun district, and a dairy plant assisted by an ADB-funded livestock project in Kaski district.