WB okays $250 million for Bangladesh to COVID-19 pandemic respond

Dhaka, Mar 27 : World Bank has approved $250 million to help Bangladesh create more and inclusive jobs and effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic for a faster recovery and stronger resilience to future crises.The Third Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit—the last in a series of three credits— is supporting the government of Bangladesh to develop a stronger policy and institutional framework to modernize the trade and investment regime; improve social protection for workers; and help youth, women and vulnerable population access quality jobs, according to a release from World Bank.
It will also support informal micro-entrepreneurs in recovering from the shock by extending micro-finance facilities.
Overall, it will support government programs to protect over 5 million jobs as part of the government’s near-term response to the crisis, while laying the groundwork to accelerate recovery and build resilience.
This program will also help streamline business and investment services, reducing the cost of starting a business. Further, it supports reforms to align the skills development sector with labor-market demands.
“Job creation remains central to Bangladesh’s development objectives. While Bangladesh has had strong economic growth in recent years, the pace of job creation has slowed, especially in the manufacturing sector. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the challenges, and the poor and women were hardest hit,” World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said.
She said that this financing will help Bangladesh create more and better jobs and expand support for both formal and informal workers affected by COVID-19 crisis.
This financing will support the government in its efforts to protect the earnings of workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis and enable firms to continue paying their workers’ wages.
“Although income and job losses due to the pandemic impacted people from all walks of life, women are most at risk of exiting the job market,” World Bank Lead Economist and Task Team Leader for the Project Aline Coudouel said.
He said that this series of programs promoted quality daycare for children in a bid to bring more women to the job market and supported actions to create a more inclusive labor market, for women, youth, and migrants.
With this program, the total World Bank’s financing to the Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit series stands at $750 million.
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 program totaling over $14 billion, reports UNB.