12:00 AM, March 18, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

WB nudges nine slow projects

WB nudges nine slow projects

Rejaul Karim Byron

The World Bank in its latest appraisal found the progress of nine of its 22 development projects in the country “unsatisfactory” and accordingly drafted in action plans to expedite the projects.
Among the nine problem projects is the Siddhirganj Peaking Power project, for which the multilateral lender has committed $350 million in October 2008.
As of February 11, only 35 percent of the funds have been used up, due to “slow implementation of the combined cycle power plant and low disbursement”—a travesty in a country that has been counting huge losses every year for rental power plants.
To ensure completion of the project by March 2016, the WB set deadlines for the construction of the plant.
Another laggard is the Investment Promotion and Financing Facility project: the WB approved $306 million for the project in May 2006 but only 35.5 percent of the fund has been disbursed to date.
The project, which is due for completion by the end of next year, was restructured twice in fiscal 2012-13 to simplify implementing arrangement, clarify results targets, increase the competitiveness of the credit line and allow more time to develop a public-private partnership pipeline. Now, a third restructuring of the project is underway.
Going by the current rate of implementation, meeting the objectives of the Private Sector Development Support project by June 2016 is highly unlikely, the WB said in the review.
In 2011, the WB approved $120 million for the project. Only $10 million has been disbursed until February.
The project was restructured in July last year, which included a cancellation of $78 million, reduction in the project scope and revision of the results indicators and targets. The WB found the progress of the projects for strengthening the auditor general's office, Parliamentary oversight and regional cooperation on wildlife protection unsatisfactory as well.
Two water and sanitation supply projects based in Dhaka and Chittagong have been marked poorly in the WB ratings.
The WB said it is no longer possible to fully achieve the objectives of the Deepening Medium-Term Budget Framework project. With only five months of the project, $3.76 million is yet to be disbursed.
The project's closing date is likely to be extended by two year, accompanied by restructuring.
The routine review, however, highlighted the successes of the well-performing projects.
The Employment Generation Programme approved in November 2010 has already seen disbursement of 71.5 percent of its $150 million allocation.
The WB said the project, which is due to be closed in June this year, is “meeting its objectives in terms of generating short-term employment for the poorest households and has had significant impact on their food consumption while surpassing targets across most indicators”.
Specifically, the project has so far created short-term employment for nearly 4.2 million people.
The Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement project has also received WB's praises for its brisk implementation pace. The project has met and in some cases surpassed five of the six key performance indicators, the WB said.
To date, 1.8 million students have benefitted from the targeted stipends and tuition for secondary education, and 57 percent of them were girls.
The WB found the Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration project worth $324 million to be “progressing well”. Most outcome targets should be achievable by closing date of December 31, 2017, it said.
Likewise, the Disability and Children at Risk (for $21.6 million) and the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment ($62.2 million) projects are also on track to meet their targets in 2016.
After delays, the Secretariat for BCCRF and Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation projects have made good progress, the WB said.
The multilateral lender is also satisfied with the progress of the Local Governance and Services, Coastal Embankment Improvement and Water Management Improvement projects.



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