WB fund Tk 1,027.50cr financing to create jobs for the poor

Posted by BankInfo on Sun, Dec 19 2010 02:13 pm

Dhaka, Dec 18: The World Bank (WB) will provide Tk 1027.50 crore, (equivalent to $ 150 million) to Bangladesh, aimed at creating jobs for 100 days in the rural areas for the extreme poor during two lean seasons a year. The programme covers one lean season from October to December and another from March to May when rural day labourers are often out of work.

The households, where the head is a manual labourer and which have less than half an acre of land will be eligible for the programme. It is estimated that over 600,000 men and women will benefit from the programme during each lean season.

The disaster management and relief division of food and disaster management ministry will implement the programme from January 2011 to December 2013.

A credit agreement between the government and WB was signed for the “Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest” at the economic relations divisions (ERD) at Sher-e-Banglanagar in the city yesterday, ERD secretary, M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and WB country director Ellen Goldstein signed on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony held at the ERD. It was attended by senior officials of the ERD and WB.

After the signing ceremony M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters  the programme would create two crore person-days of employment over a three year period. “The Government is committed to extend the safety net to protect the poorest and the vulnerable population, while ensuring a more efficient, accountable and transparent system”  Bhuiyan said.

Wages to the day labourers will be paid through formal financial channels to ensure the efficiency and transparency of the system, the ERD secretary observed.

The programme will generate employments for the day labourers, particularly for the vulnerable women, who are often out of work during the lean season, he added.

Despite considerable progress in poverty reduction during the past 20 years, many of the poorest women are still without employment, Bhuiyan said, adding that the programme would ensure that the poorest women make up at least one-third of those employed.

“Our mandate is to reduce poverty, which  requires shared growth, in which the poorest are not left behind” said Ellen Goldstein after signing the agreement and added “The WB will provide funds for the  wage-earners, but will also help ensure that funds are well-targeted to those who are most in need,” she noted.

“Building upon the government's earlier employment generation interventions, the programme will target both the poorest upazilas and the poorest households,” she noted adding that “it will address seasonal poverty by allowing the poorest to have an income, which can be scaled up if the situation demands.”

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA) has 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 per cent.

Source: The Independent, Bangladesh/19th Dec 2010