Sunday, 25 September, 2022

Economic Recovery

WB to give $300m credit to Bangladesh

It will help cities, towns to build back better

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 8 August, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
WB to give $300m credit to Bangladesh

The World Bank will provide Bangladesh with a $300 million loan to help strengthen local urban institutions after the Covid-19 pandemic shocks and improve preparedness for any such setback in future.

The government signed a loan agreement with the Washington-based lender at a function at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in Dhaka on Sunday. 

The funds will be utilised in Local Government Covid-19 Response and Recovery Project designed to strengthen capacity of urban-centric local government institutions to cope with Covid-19 pandemic. 

It will benefit 39.9 million urban residents in all eight divisions. It will help cities and towns to build back better as they recover from the pandemic and prepare for future shocks, including climate change, disasters, and disease outbreaks.

In addition, 329 municipalities and 10 city corporations will receive funds bi-annually from the project to improve critical urban services and infrastructures to mitigate and respond to climate change impacts, disasters, and future disease outbreaks.

The loan deal was signed by ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan and the World Bank Country Director Mercy Tembon on behalf of Bangladesh government and the lender respectively. 

 “Bangladesh is rapidly urbanising. With around 36 percent of the population living in urban areas, the city corporations and the municipalities can play a critical role in helping the urban poor recover from the pandemic as well as prepare to handle future shocks” said Mercy Tembon. 

 “This project will help local government institutions take the right measures to move toward climate-smart urbanisation and prepare for resilience in future shocks,” she expected.

The project will carry out labour-intensive public work that, on one hand, will ensure water supply and sanitation, drainage, and other critical services benefitting the low-income areas, slums, and the areas exposed to high disease outbreak and disaster risks, and on other hand, create jobs for the poor urban people.

It will create 1.5 million days of short-term work as well as jobs for 10,000 women under the public works scheme.

All infrastructures will incorporate energy efficiency measures, including solar panels and cool roof measures in municipal buildings and services.

The project will install hand-washing  stations and toilets, including separate facilities for women and improve sanitisation in public spaces such as markets, burial grounds, and offices.

It will also help disabled people access municipality-owned health clinics and conduct awareness programmes on vaccines and other Covid-19 protocols, as well as outreach on gender-based violence and climate risks.

 “With quick and proactive measures, the Bangladesh government will be able to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan stated.

 “The project will further support to ensure that the urban areas remain prepared for any future shocks while benefiting the urban poor through job creation, better services, and infrastructure.”

The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.

Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA programme totaling $14.7 billion.