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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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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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