ADB grant in millions to boost local govt bodies
Himalayan News Service
Kathmandu, October 22:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has come forward to help Nepal improve local governance
and promote community development. The international body has pledged a grant worth $106.3 million.
The aid will be disbursed in three phases. It will support the active engagement of communities in local governance, improve resource management and dispensation of service. Local government agencies will play a key role in implementation of the much-needed project.
Perhaps, the ADB grant could not have come at an opportune time for the Maoist-led government, which is gradually veering towards a federal structure.
In fact, the Three-Year Interim Plan (fiscal 2008-2010) has put forth decentralisation as the
primary means for good governance.
“It will support the government’s move. Local bodies can be strengthened as it will prompt them to take several community initiatives. There is a greater focus on inclusive development as well,” said Gambhir Bhatta, a senior official, South Asia department, ADB.
The programme will undertake novel ways of monitoring local finances by incorporating gender equality and social inclusion indicators; administering safety nets and social assistance
programmes to the underprivileged; budgeting grants to key sectors like education, health and agriculture. There will be a greater coordination among the districts.
Altogether the ambitious scheme is estimated to cost $470 million. The government has pledged $260.8 million for it.
A follow-up ADB programme grant, amounting to $50 million, is envisaged for a three-year period (2012-15).
It will largely focus on policy reforms.
Source: The Himalayan Times