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ADB concerned over slow implementation of the development projects in Nepal

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KATHMANDU — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed its grave concerns over ‘slow implementation’ of the development projects funded by it in Nepal.

Some ADB high officials expressed this worry during the Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting of the development projects implemented with the loan or grant assistance provided by the ADB here today.

In the meeting, officials of the concerned Nepali authorities acknowledged that the pace of implementation of the development projects could not be sped up due to domestic and external reasons. They said they have given special emphasis on inter-ministry coordination and cooperation in carrying out the projects.

Among the key challenges of development projects as identified in the meeting are: weak project management capacity of executing/implementing agencies, delay in procurement and disbursement, high risk in procurement and contract administration, poor contractor and consultant performance and weak inter-agency coordination.

It pointed out the challenges related to environment/forest clearance, land acquisition, aggregates and coordination with other utilities. The meeting also recommended various actions for addressing these challenges.

ADB Country Director for Nepal, Kenichi Yokoyama, said the last year’s similar meeting had formulated 22 action plans for the expeditious implementation of four projects in the energy sector; but only 11 of them were implemented.

Likewise, these projects missed seven targets and four action plans were not complied to, he pointed out.

He expressed concerns over the halt of the Tribhuvan International Airport expansion project due to lack of soil, adding that the project management was also weak.

The project has been hampered after the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) filed a case at the Special Court against the government’s decision citing it could not provide the soil required for the airport expansion project.

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NPC urges government to seek clarification from Chinese firm

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KATHMANDU — The National Planning Commission (NPC) has urged the government to seek clarification from China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGC) over the construction of the Paschim (West) Seti Hydro Power Project.

The meeting of the NPC that began on Sunday, made the decision of seeking clarification from the company with a time period of 90 days regarding the construction of 750 MW hydropower project.

The hydropower project, which is expected to be completed in an investment of 1.60 billion rupees, will have 65 percent investments from the CTGC, 25 percent from the National Electricity Authority (NEA) and the 10 percent investments from the locals as share, as per the plans made before.

CTGC can sell off its 14 percent of its total 65 percent share to the Nepali investors. But the CTGC has been showing dissatisfaction over the rate of purchasing the electricity per unit (PPA). Previously it had asked the NEA to review the rate but got a negative response.

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“We have suggested the government to interrogate the company whether it will be able to complete the project or not. What has been the problem to expedite the construction along with the terms and conditions which the company wants to put forward,” NPC Vice President Swarnim Wagle said.

The CGTC, which has been delaying the construction over its dissatisfaction over the PPA, has been threatening to walk out of the construction.

The project, which covers the area of Doti, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, and Bajhang districts of Far Western Development Region of Nepal, can produce 3.33 billion units of electricity on yearly basis, accoridng to the probability study of the project.

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