The FINANCIAL -- The government of Bangladesh on April 18 signed two additional financing agreements totaling $74 million with the World Bank to improve the country’s e-government services across its agencies, as well as improve air quality of Dhaka city.
The $39 million additional financing to Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance (LICTGEG) Project will scale-up the e-Government infrastructure and services, through which all government ministries and agencies will be able to avail shared technology infrastructure for their systems and services. This will allow the public sector to benefit from higher efficiency, reduce risks in the use of IT and promote the e-Governance efforts in the years ahead. Bangladeshi citizens and businesses will benefit from improved reliability of public services, according to the World Bank.
“These two financings will help Bangladesh improve lives and living standards of its population. The additional financing to LICTGEG project will help improve public sector administration and public services through the use of e-Government technologies and innovations,” said Rajashree Paralkar, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The additional financing to Clean Air and Sustainable Project will help address Dhaka’s environmental, transport and traffic challenges, and help improve the city’s air quality.”
Poor air quality in urban area creates serious health hazards, adversely affects environment and quality of life. By reducing exposure to urban air pollution by 20%, Bangladesh could save 1,200 lives annually and avoid 80 million cases of diseases. The $35 million additional financing to Clean Air and Sustainable Environment (CASE) Project will help augment and sustain air quality management initiatives, and testing models for improving traffic management system in Dhaka.
The additional financing will help establish five additional air quality monitoring stations, in addition to the 11 monitoring stations supported by the project and a central air quality laboratory. The financing will also help establish mobile air quality labs at all divisional offices for better monitoring and enforcement of air emissions from industrial sectors. Further, the project will continue support to operationalize the traffic signals and address mobility needs of people with disabilities.
“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth in the last decade. These financings will contribute to government’s vision of a ‘Digital Bangladesh’, as well as improve livability of its cities by reducing air pollution, and ensuring safe mobility for its citizens,” said Mahmuda Begum, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.
The agreements were signed by Begum and Paralkar on behalf of the government and the World Bank respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credits from the World Bank’s International Development Association, its grant to low-interest loan arm, have a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed more than $24 billion grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. In recent years, Bangladesh has been the largest recipient of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.