KATHMANDU, Sept 22: The visiting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, Qimiao Fan, on Thursday met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and discussed a gamut of issues related to Nepali economy including post reconstruction and structural reform of economy.
They also discussed Nepal's development priorities and reviewed collaboration with the World Bank Group in a wide range of areas including post-earthquake housing reconstruction, energy and transport as well as upcoming programs in health, social protection and the financial sector, a statement issued by the World Bank said.
During the meeting, Fan informed Prime Minister Dahal that Nepal can expect a potential increase in concessional financing for the 2017-2020 period provided that the government improves the quality of its development spending by addressing issues around financial management, procurement, contract management and project staffing.
The World Bank has allocated $820 million in concessional credit to Nepal for 2014-2016.
Dahal, on the occasion, appreciated the World Bank Group's strategic partnership in key areas of economic development over the years. He mentioned that the post-earthquake reconstruction and infrastructure development as top economic priorities to complement his government's focus on implementing the new constitution and concluding the remaining aspects of the peace process, the statement added.
Responding to Dahal, Fan welcomed the progress in the distribution and monitoring of housing reconstruction grants and offered additional World Bank assistance, if the government maintains the momentum. He complimented the leadership of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) in accelerating first tranche of payments to eligible beneficiaries. Fan also suggested that the government expedite programs beyond rural housing to utilize the reconstruction assistance that development partners collectively pledged during the post-earthquake international conference last year.
Noting the importance of connectivity in Nepal's challenging terrain, Fan also offered to continue World Bank support for rural and strategic roads. “On energy, he said improvements in the institutional and policy environment would enable the World Bank Group to scale up its assistance in this critical area,” the statement added.
Later on the day, Fan also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. During the meeting, Fan said that the development partners look forward to an update on the government's efforts at post-earthquake reconstruction during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC early next month.
Fan also met with various high ranking government officials including Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi, according to the statement.