Health Desk – 27 Mar, 2021: The World Bank approved $250 million on March 26 to help Bangladesh effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic for a faster recovery and stronger resilience to future crises.
“This financing will help Bangladesh create more and better jobs and expand support for both formal and informal workers affected by Covid-19 crisis,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
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 modernise the trade and investment regime; improve social protection for workers; and help youth, women and vulnerable population access quality jobs.
“Job creation remains central to Bangladesh’s development objectives,” Tembon said.
“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.”
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.
It will also support informal micro-entrepreneurs in recovering from the shock by extending micro-finance facilities.
Overall, it will support government programmes 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 programme 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.
“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,” said Aline Coudouel, World Bank’s lead economist and task team leader for the project.
“This series of programmes promoted quality daycare for children in a bid to bring more women to the job market and supported actions to create a more inclusive labour market, for women, youth, and migrants.”
With this programme, 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 programme totaling over $14 billion.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed more than $35 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country since its independence.