June 30, 2012
By the Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: The World Bank today approved a $60 million credit to help Nepal maintain and construct bridges on its Strategic Roads Network under the Programme-for-Results instrument.
“Through the new Programme-for-Results instrument, World Bank (WB) support will contribute towards improving access for the population of Nepal, especially those living in remote areas,” said World Bank country manager for Nepal Tahseen Sayed. “We hope it will also create greater economic opportunities.”
The strategic roads network refers to roughly 10,800-km of national highways, feeder roads and other roads of national importance. Supporting the vision behind Nepal’s Bridge Policy and Strategy of 2004 to provide ‘safe, reliable and cost effective’ bridges, the Bridges Improvement and Maintenance Programme will maintain 89 bridges, many over 35 years old, complete major and minor maintenance of over 300 bridges, and construct 121 new bridges.
The programme will be financed through a new World Bank financing instrument called the Programme-for-Results that links disbursements of funds directly to the delivery of verifiable results. It is the first Programme-for-Results to be approved by the World Bank’s Board under IDA, the bank’s concessional financing window. The bank will provide approximately 40 per cent of programme financing, with the government providing the remaining 60 per cent.
The programme will support the strengthening of institutional systems and will develop transparent implementation arrangements, including linking disbursements to verification of results, third party monitoring, use of social accountability tools and technical audits.
“Three quarters of the bridges require urgent maintenance and the costs are estimated at under $250,000 per bridge,” said Task Team Leader at the World Bank Farhad Ahmed. “Similar estimates suggest that most of the new bridges will cost less than $1 million each.”
World Bank has funded six road projects in Nepal. By improving mobility and access, including in the poorest regions of western and far-western region, the projects are generating economic opportunities while reducing the vulnerability of excluded and marginalised groups.
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