KATHMANDU, Oct 16:
The World Bank (WB) has agreed to adopt its development partnership strategy with Nepal on long term basis, switching over from the existing short-term interim strategy.
Senior officials of the WB agreed to initiate cooperation with Nepal on long term program basis during a meeting with high-level Nepali delegation which was in Washington to attend the annual general meeting of the WB and International Monetary Fund (IMF) held on October 11-13.
The meeting brings together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.
“As a paradigm shift of WB support pattern from existing Interim Strategy Note (ISN) — a support based on short-term programs, the multilateral donor has agreed to assist us on the basis of at least five-year programs,” Madhu Kumar Marasini, joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), told Republica on Wednesday.
Under the ISN, the WB has been supporting Nepal on par with the countries that are passing through transition after conflicts, taking the policy to extend support through short term programs.
“So far, we had been getting WB support under ISN that can be changed every two or three years. Once WB starts supporting us on long term basis, we will be able to secure its support with long term partnership strategies which can´t be changed for at least five years,” Marasini, who was also the member of Nepali delegation, said.
Marasini also said the commitment for long term partnership is a reflection of stronger recognition of WB to Nepal´s performance in utilization of its assistance. “Once the new strategy comes into force, we will be able to formulate long-term partnership programs to implement the WB support,” he added.
During the visit, the Nepali delegation, which was led by Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala, also held discussion with senior officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During the meeting, IMF officials assured the Nepali delegation that it would continue support Nepal´s Financial Sector Reform Programs which is entering into the second phase.
Under the programs, IMF will continue to support Nepal in its bid to bring about reforms in the management of state-owned banks, enhance access of people to finances and strengthen the capacity of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).
On the occasion, the Nepali delegation requested the WB to shift its focus on investment in hydropower and roads infrastructures from traditional sectors such as education and health.
“The WB officials have realized that Nepal needs more support on hydropower and road sector rather than continuing assistance in traditional sectors such as health and educations where we have attained satisfactory progress,” added Marasini.
The Nepali delegation also requested the WB officials to restore World Bank´s Country Director´s Office in Nepal.
WB has been looking after its Nepal affairs from its Dhaka office for the last two years.
Last month, Finance Minister Koirala had expressed his displeasure with Dr Sundaran Annamalai, director of World Bank-South Asia, over abrupt relocation of World Bank´s Country Representative´s office from Nepal.
The WB had announced in 2011 that its country director based in Dhaka will oversee Nepal affairs.
Source : Republica