Finance minister to seek more aid from World Bank, donors

  • In Washington, Khatiwada will solicit increased assistance for projects
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Minister will meet officials from IMF, MCC and USAID to call for support to road, electricity, irrigation, railway and tourism projects

Aug 5, 2018-Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada will seek a significant increase in assistance from some of the multilateral and bilateral donors during his upcoming meeting with aid agency representatives in Washington, Finance Ministry officials said.

Minister Khatiwada, who left for Washington on Friday to discuss the World Bank’s 2019-2023 Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Nepal, is also scheduled to meet senior officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and two US aid agencies--the USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

On behalf of a government enjoying a two-thirds majority in Parliament, Khatiwada will seek more aid from donors to implement large projects for fuelling economic growth.

Amid newfound optimism for greater political stability, good governance and sustainable growth, donors are looking for fresh briefing from Nepal on the government’s policies and priorities. Minister Khatiwada will present in the United States the KP Sharma Oli government’s economic vision and strategy, roadmap for implementation of federalism and for mobilising resources for the country’s development.

Finance Secretary Rajan Khanal said the minister would seek substantial assistance from donors in areas of physical infrastructure, tourism and energy as Nepal gains political stability.

Khanal, however, said the anticipated assistance had yet to be specified. Currently, the World Bank has a portfolio of $2.53 billion in 22 projects under International Development Agency (IDA), an arm for a low income country. Its private sector arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC), has committed $52 million.

The World Bank’s new assistance framework has been prepared for the next five years. Finance Ministry officials said the new CPF will focus on federalism and inclusive growth. Nepal could get about $300 to $400 million annually from the IDA in the next five years.

“Nepal will seek a significant growth in financing from these two windows,’ said Shreekrishna Nepal, chief of the international economic cooperation coordination division at the Finance Ministry, before leaving for Washington with Khatiwada.

“We will also seek other windows such as International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and Multinational Investment Guarantee Agency to boost financing.”

Currently, there is minimal WB support under MIGA as Nepal seeks financing under IBRD for the first time.

Minister Khatiwada will also hold separate meetings with officials from the IMF, MCC and the USAID to seek more assistance. During the meeting, the government will solicit funds for road, electricity, irrigation, railway and tourism.

“Widening of the East-West Highway and expansion of the east-west electric railway are among the projects for his support will be called for,” said an official.

The World Bank has arranged for “Nepal Day” where Khatiwada is scheduled to address representatives of multilateral and bilateral donor agencies. “The finance minister will speak on the resource gap Nepal faces in undertaking large infrastructure projects and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Nepal.

Published: 05-08-2018 07:27

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