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  Poor groundwork remains a major hurdle to expedite infrastructure projects: Experts

Kathmandu: Nepal has been unable to expedite various projects in the pipeline due to lack of necessary groundwork of the infrastructure projects, said analysts on Monday.

Speaking at a program organized by the Society of Economic Journalists- Nepal (SEJON), analysts underlined poor performance of the projects for a number of reasons that include low efficiency of the government officials, hurdles in procurement process and lack of detailed study of the proposed projects.

Former Secretary Krishna Gyawali argued that there is a need to improve competitiveness in procurement process at micro level and the negotiation power while dealing with bilateral and multilateral partners in infrastructure development. “In many cases, project documents do not even include supplementary note and explanatory note, among other things,” said Gyawali.

Gyawali said there is also a lack of adequate legal provisions to improve performance of Priority One (P1) projects. Due to the reason, most of these types of projects fail to meet performance targets every year.

Shiva Raj Adhikari, economist and head of the Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, said the government authorities tend to focus mainly on the process rather than outcome of the projects, making them unrewarding in the prescribed time limit. He stressed on the need to develop interlink of an infrastructure related project with various sectors such as irrigation, electricity, road and drinking water supply. “With an exception of a few cases, there is no system of evaluating the possible rise in financial liability when a project construction is delayed,” Adhikari added.

Bhawani Rana, former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, argued that there is a need to involve the private sector in the entire process of project construction. “The government also needs to simplify the repatriation process that has surfaced as the main hurdle for the foreign investors,” Rana said.

Joint Secretary Sri Krishna Nepal, who heads the International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division at the Ministry of Finance, said Nepal has failed to benefit as it has failed to showcase potential projects before the foreign investment partners. “We tend to focus on forwarding the primary concept rather than defining the project details including the potential returns before the partners concerned,” he said.

[20 April, 2021 / nagariknetwork.com]   
 
 
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