WB to finance $74m for e-governance, Dhaka’s air quality

Dhaka,  Sat,  29 July 2017
Published : 18 Apr 2017, 14:49:35
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WB to finance $74m for e-governance, Dhaka’s air quality

FE Report
The World Bank (WB) will provide a loan of US$74 million to support Bangladesh in improving its e-government services across agencies, as well as improve the air quality of the capital city. 

The government of Bangladesh Tuesday signed two additional financing agreements with the WB, said a press release.  

The agreements were signed by additional secretary of economic relations division (ERD) Mahmuda Begum and Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Rajashree Paralkar on behalf of their respective sides at the ERD in the capital.

Of the amount, $39 million financing to Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance (LICTGEG) Project is expected to 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. 

It would 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, said the press release.

“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,” Paralkar said. 

“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 is expected help augment and sustain air quality management initiatives, and testing models for improving traffic management system in Dhaka.

The 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 operationalise the traffic signals and address mobility needs of the 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.

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 nearly $25 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.

 
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