WB to give $74m to help improve e-govt services, air quality
The government yesterday signed two financing agreements amounting to $74 million with the World Bank to improve the country's e-government services across its agencies as well as improve the air quality of Dhaka.
The loans will have a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.
Of the sum, $39 million go towards scaling up the e-government infrastructure and services that will aid in improving public sector administration and public services.
“This will 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, the Washington-based multilateral lender said in a statement.
The remaining $35 million will go to the Clean Air and Sustainable project that involves 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 existing ones and a central air quality laboratory.
It 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 the mobility needs of people with disabilities.
By reducing exposure to urban air pollution by 20 percent, Bangladesh could save 1,200 lives annually and avoid 80 million cases of diseases, the WB said.
The credits will contribute to the government's vision of a 'Digital Bangladesh' as well as improve the liveability of its cities by reducing air pollution and ensuring safe mobility for its citizens, said Mahmuda Begum, additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division.
Begum and Rajashree Paralkar, acting WB country director for Bangladesh, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective parties.
Since 1971, the WB has committed nearly $25 billion grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. In recent years, Bangladesh has been the largest recipient of the Washington-based multilateral lender's interest-free credits.