ADB PROJECTS No Easy Progress

Despite political instability and frequent change of government, ADB projects have made some progress

March 9, 2017, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10,No. 14. March 10,2017, (Falgun 27, 2073)

If the contractor maintains the current pace of construction, the people of Kathmandu will get the water from Melamchi Drinking Water Project by October 2017. With the recognition of the work of contractors and consultants, given by the Asian Development Bank, hope is ripe the project will see its timely completion.

In a Tripartite Review Meeting, organized by Asian Development Bank, Finance Secretary Dr. Shanta Raj Subedi handed over the best performing contractor award to Cooperative and Muratori and Cementisiti (C.M.C) di Ravennna from Melamchi Water Supply Project.

Similarly, Best Performing Consultant award also went toEptisa Servicios de Ingenieria S.L. Spani- BETS Consulting Services Ltd from Melamchi Water Supply Project.

Furthermore, Melamchi Water Supply Project and Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project secured the best management team award for 2016, among all Asian Development Bank financed projects.

Although it took nearly 20 years, Melamchi Drinking Water Project is coming to fruition now. Even as it was delayed by technical problems, almost 90 percent, out of 27584.5 meters, 23026.7 meters tunnel has already constructed by March 4 and the remaining work on 4557.8 meters tunnel is going on.

One of the successes behind the pace of progress in Melamchi project goes to the leadership. Project Chief Ghanshyam Bhattarai has been at work in the project for almost three years.

Along with Melamchi, Electricity Transmission, Expansion and Supply Improvement Project and other dozens of projects have made big progress, even by breaking the records of last five decades.

Despite achieving higher progress in Melamchi, other projects like Gautam Buddha International Airport and Tribhuwan International Airport Expansion Project have seen dismal performance.

Even after the cancellation of the contract award with the contractor, officials are not sure of the date of publication of the new tender notice for Tribhuwan International Airport, which has been facing a problem with congestion. Although Gautam Buddha International Airport, second international airport, had made some progress initially, it is now delayed by various local reasons, such as lack of stone quarrying and other disturbances.

Participated in by secretaries, joint secretaries and project managers from Nepal government and staff from ADB, the recently concluded Tripartite Review Meeting (February 26-27) discussed these and other problems intensively.

Although the high-level officials, including the head of International Economic Cooperation and Coordination Division (IECCD) of Ministry of Finance Baikuntha Aryal from the chair, repeatedly asked questions to the managers of the two airport projects about the reasons for the delay, they failed to respond with answers properly.

Officials from Civil Aviation Authority Nepal and Project Manager of TIA Expansion even did not know the date for the publication of new tender for the contract.

Inaugurated by Secretary of Finance Dr. Shanta Raj Subedi and Diwesh Sharan, Deputy Director General of ADB South Asia Department and co-chair, the two day meeting also expressed the commitment to accelerate the progress of the projects.

With the continuous monitoring and regular discussions with government officials by Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director, ADB Nepal Resident Mission, Nepal has made a major breakthrough in project work this year despite the political uncertainties that have generally affected several spheres of national life.

 “ADB’s portfolio in Nepal is growing; and as of 2016 end, cumulative assistance, since its operation in 1969 in Nepal, stands at $4.9 billion and the active net portfolio stands at almost $2.0 billion for 34 investment projects,” said Sharan. He said that TPRM is an important event to improve the performance of ADB supported projects and portfolio: "We give very high attention and priority to it."

As Nepal has made a good progress this year, Nepalese government officials assured ADB that they will take the necessary step to keep the current pace intact. Finance Secretary Dr. Subedi made it clear that the government will leave no stone unturned to accelerate the development activities, particularly in the implementation of the projects. “We are happy to know that ADB’s projects have made a good progress in 2016. We hope you will maintain this in the coming year also,” said Dr. Subedi.

“I congratulate MOF, executing agencies and all project teams for the exemplary performance demonstrated in 2016 with recovery from 2015 loss due to earthquake and trade disruptions. In 2016, Nepal portfolio’s financial performance in terms of contract award totaled $359 million and disbursement totaled $202 million, both highest in ADB’s operational history in Nepal. Enhanced readiness of new projects and strong project leadership in some projects has contributed to this achievement,” said Sharan.

 “This is my fifth year to attend the first portfolio review of the year, and I am glad that we can start with a good note about the overall performance of ADB-assisted projects last year, which we can say 'notably improved'. This is thanks to the efforts of everyone to address a range of issues (including project readiness, project leadership and human resources, procurement, contract management, safeguards, and addressing complex local issues). Nevertheless, we must also say that the progress is just half way through, compared with our target of making annual execution (contract awards and disbursement) at par with annual lending (new commitment) level of $300 million in recent years,” said Kenichi Yokoyama.

There is a very high correlation between a strong project leadership and the performance of the project, i.e., project performance is stronger where it is led by a competent Project Director. The rapid progress of flagship projects such as Melamchi and SASEC power and transport projects are testament to this. "So I would like to emphasize to all the policy decision makers and the media, to advocate and ensure that Project Directors of high priority projects are deployed from among the most competent staffs of the implementing agencies. So the practice of so-called 'bhagbanda' must be refrained or abandoned, by all means, to ensure timely project execution."

Head of International Coordination and Coordination Division Baikuntha Aryal presented various factors delaying the project implementation. “There is no excuse for us and we have to complete the projects on time,” said Aryal.

As Nepal is aiming to graduate from an LDC to a middle-income country, there is the need to accelerate the construction pace of the infrastructure projects. ADB’s Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting has showed a way out.

 

Best Project Management Team Award for 2016

1. Melamchi Water Supply Project

2. Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project

3. SASEC Power System Expansion Project

 

Best Project Team- Procumbent Process

1. SASEC Power System Expansion Project

Best Project Team- Environmental Monitoring

1. Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project- Additional Financing

Best Project Team- Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

1. Electricity Transmission, Expansion and Supply Improvement Project

Best Performing Contractors in 2016

1. Cooperative and Muratori and Cementisiti (C.M.C) di Ravennna from Melamhci Water Supply Project

2. KEC India Ltd. (Subcontractor: Sigma Con Pvt. Ltd) from Electricity Transmission Expansion and Supply Improvement Project

3. Ashis- Mahalaxmi JV from Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project- Additional Financing

Best Performing Consultants

1.     Eptisa Servicios de Ingenieria S.L. Spani- BETS Consulting Services Ltd from Melamchi Water Supply Project

Keshab Poudel

Keshab Poudel

Poudel is the editor of New Spotlight Magazine.

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