Donors propose joint taskforce

  • Mechanism would engage in strategic dialogue to address development challenges
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Mar 18, 2015-

Donors on Wednesday proposed a joint taskforce represented by the development partners and the government to engage in strategic dialogue to overcome development challenges Nepal is facing.

Although there are forums such as Nepal Portfolio Performance Review, the donors stated the taskforce would constantly engage in dialogue to address various development challenges.

Speaking on the behalf of the donor community at a meeting at the Finance Ministry, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick said the taskforce was sought to explore the possibility of strategic dialogue between the government and the development partners at time when the government has taken ambitious target of graduating Nepal to a developing country from a least developed country by 2022.

As the National Planning Commission is preparing the Vision 2030, McGoldrick said the donor community would like to support the government’s initiative.

He, however, said no work has been done with regard to the formation of such a taskforce.

At the meeting, other donors also supported the proposal saying such a forum would be helpful for a constructive dialogue.

In response, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the government was open to the idea of forming the taskforce. “Let’s make terms of reference for the taskforce and develop it as a problem-solving group,” he said.

The donors raised the issue of frequent staff transfers, long public procurement process, land acquisition problems and obstruction to forest clearance.

Asian Development Bank Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama said the  ADB-funded energy projects were facing severe problems compared to transport and urban infrastructure

projects, particularly in the approval process, land acquisition, right of way and forest clearance.

According to the Mid-Term Review of the budget, spending in donor-funded projects is lower than that in locally-funded projects.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said it should be investigated why expenditure in donor-funded projects has remained lower.

The government report shows projects funded by foreign loans spent 4.9 percent of the allocated amount, and those funded by foreign grants spent 8.41 percent as of first half of the fiscal year.

The overall capital expenditure of the government over the period was 12 percent.

Mahat said strict environmental safeguard measures adopted by donors also hampered the implementation of the projects.

“Environment safeguard standards for Nepal should not be put on par with the developed world,” he said.

Graduation to developing country ‘by 2018’

KATHMANDU: National Planning Commission (NPC) member Swornim Wagle said on Wednesday Nepal could graduate to a developing country by 2018 technically by fulfilling two out of three criteria. “Nepal has already met the indicators of economic non-vulnerability and is in course to meet the human asset index in 2015,” he said. “But per capita income criteria is yet to be met.” He said the country has to make progress in income rise for an effective graduation, although the graduation is possible technically before targeted date of 2022. Although the criteria under the human asset index, which embodies various social indicators such as infant mortality and school enrollment 2015, Nepal will be in an observation period for the next three years, according to NPC. “Its sustainability over the period will make Nepal a developing country technically by 2018,” said Wagle. (PR)

Published: 19-03-2015 07:36

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