PM orders shot in the arm for national pride projects

PM orders shot in the arm for national pride projects

  • More than half of the schemes fail to meet 50 percent performance target

Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 3, 2017- Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has directed the National Planning Commission (NPC) to prepare clear-cut criteria to standardise national pride project selection process and come up with a list of benefits that could be accorded to such schemes in the next two months. He has also instructed the NPC, the apex body that frames the country’s development plans and programmes, to design an implementation modality for all the national pride projects within a month. The prime minister issued the orders following lack of progress at national pride projects which has prevented the country from tapping its economic potential. “The speed at which national pride projects are being implemented is worrisome. It’s time to think radically so that the construction of these projects can gather pace,” the prime minister told the 38th meeting of the National Development Action Committee which was attended by almost all government ministers and secretaries.

The concept of national pride project was first introduced in 2012 in a bid to expedite the construction of schemes considered to be crucial for the country’s sustained development. However, there is no standard process based on which a project is described as ‘national pride’. Currently, 21 schemes have been identified as national pride projects. They include four irrigation projects, three hydropower projects, three international airports, six road projects, an electric railway project, a drinking water project, two projects aimed at promoting the holy sites of Pashupati and Lumbini and an environment conservation project.  The completion of these projects, according to experts, can completely change the face of Nepal and put it on a high growth trajectory. However, more than half of these projects failed to meet 50 percent of their performance target in the first four months of the current fiscal year, as per the latest NPC report. This is not the first time that national pride projects have failed to meet performance targets, which include the physical works target that needs to be completed every four months and the spending target. 

The Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Project, for instance, met only 0.1 percent each of the physical and financial targets, making it the worst performer in the first four months of this fiscal year. Next in the list of worst performing projects is the 1,200-MW Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project, which met 1.1 percent each of the physical and financial targets. Another worst performing project is the Lumbini Area Development Trust, which achieved 7 percent of the physical target and 10 percent of the financial target. Some of the common problems faced by these projects are delays in land acquisition, disputes between project officials and locals over the compensation amount offered by the government, unclear relocation and resettlement strategy, lack of coordination among officials and protests launched by their staff. “Many projects also face problems while conducting Initial Environment Examination and Environmental Impact Assessment,” said NPC Vice-Chairman Min Bahadur Shrestha. “We will list all the problems faced by these projects and try to address them by providing them certain benefits as directed by the prime minister. We hope this will expedite implementation of national pride projects.”

Worst Performers

Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track
Physical target: 0.1 percent
Financial target: 0.1 percent
Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project
Physical target: 1.1 percent
Financial target: 1.1 percent
Lumbini Area Development Trust
Physical target: 7 percent
Financial target: 10 percent
Second International Airport, Nijgadh
Physical target: 15 percent
Financial target: 0 percent
Pashupati Area Development Trust
Physical target: 25 percent
Financial target: 14 percent
Source: National Planning Commission