September 16: The Government of Nepal and the World Bank have signed two separate financing agreements of US$50 million each as additional support to implement the government’s flagship School Sector Development Program (SSDP) in the education sector and public management reforms in the health sector.
The additional financing to the SSDP is expected to help reduce dropouts and mitigate learning losses by supporting pro-poor targeted scholarships, pro-science scholarships, and catch-up programs, the World Bank said in a statement. According to the World Bank, it will lay the foundation for the next school sector successor program in two areas – assessment and data systems, and help create the fiscal space to fill the gap in financing the government’s flagship program.
Similarly, the additional financing for Nepal Health Sector Management Reform for Results will support the original Nepal Health Sector Management Reform Program for Results implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population. It spearheads reforms in public procurement, financial management, data for decision making and citizen engagement for greater accountability in the health sector, the statement added.
Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini and the World Bank’s Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos signed the agreements on behalf of their respective sides on Wednesday, September 15.
“Strengthening Nepal’s education and health systems is an essential element of building back better from the pandemic,” the statement quoted Marasini as saying. “The reform agenda championed by the Nepal Health Sector Program for Results is critical to Nepal’s vision of an efficient, effective, transparent and accountable health system, and together with the School Sector Development Program, provides a catalyst for improved human capital development enabling Nepal to compete strongly post-COVID.”
World Bank’s Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Faris Hadad-Zervos said that these engagements contribute to Nepal’s green, resilient, and inclusive development by making the country’s education and health systems more inclusive and resilient to future shocks, which will in turn help to accelerate human capital development.
“I am very hopeful that that the additional financing will help propel Nepal closer to its goal of universal health coverage, and ensure equitable access and improve the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and young people in Nepal,” he said.