The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) held a conference in Hanoi on March 18 to assess the pace of a rural infrastructure project in northern mountainous provinces in 2013.

Reports at the conference said by the end of January 2014, ADB approved all 43 investment reports compiled by the project management board.

Last year, 206 billion VND (9.8 million USD) in ADB loans for the project were disbursed, representing 117 percent of the figure registered with ADB and 82 percent of that with MARD, the reports said.

Project Director Tran Van Lam said in 2013, the project accelerated the bidding process for subprojects. However, some irregularities in the process prompted ADB to suspend the bids from November 2013 to January 2014, affecting the project’s pace.

Therefore, in 2014, the project management board will work with the Ministry of Finance and the donor to better the planning, financial management, as well as supervision over the use of loans and work quality, he said.

Meanwhile, MARD Deputy Minister Hoang Van Thang asked beneficiary localities to hasten site clearance progress and complete internal monitoring reports so as to speed up the project in the year.

The 2011-2016 project is benefiting 15 northern mountainous provinces through upgrading their deteriorated but critical rural infrastructure and improving their capacity of infrastructure management.-VNA