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WB may approve $ 2.075bn against 9 dev projects

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UNB report

The World Bank is expected to come up with a robust portfolio in the current fiscal year (2014-15) like the previous year as the Washington-based lending agency is likely to approve around $ 2.075 billion against nine development projects to support Bangladesh's development needs.

The multilateral lending agency is likely to approve $ 2075 million against nine projects at its Board meeting in Washington in between November 2014 and March 2015, said an official at the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

Sources at the ERD said discussions were held between the government and the World Bank's Dhaka office recently over financing of a number of projects that include nine projects for which the World Bank is expected to come up with credit assistance.

Of the amount, the World Bank is likely to approve credit assistance worth $ 1450 million against five projects during the 2nd quarter (Oct-Dec) of the current fiscal year while $ 625 million against four projects during the 3rd quarter (Jan-Mar) of the ongoing fiscal year.

These proposed nine projects which are likely to get the World Bank fund are Primary Education Development Program III ($ 400 mn), Conditional Cash Transfer Project ($ 300 mn), Multipurpose Disaster Shelter Phase II ($ 370 mn), Financial Sector Support Project ($ 300 mn), Pro-poor slums Integration Project ($ 80 mn), Bangladesh Urban Resilience Project ($125 mn), NATP II: Agricultural Innovation and Commercialization ($150 mn), Health Sector Development Program ($ 150 mn) and Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project ($ 200 mn).

According to officials at the World Bank Dhaka office, the World Bank assistance to Bangladesh went up last fiscal year from the previous year.

In FY14, the World Bank has approved a total of $1.8 billion financing for Bangladesh. The eight new projects approved in FY 14 were: (i) Additional Financing for Secondary Education, $265mn; (ii) Additional Financing for Higher Education Quality Enhancement, $125 mn (iii) Additional Financing for Emergency Cyclone Recovery and Restoration, $140 mn; and (iv) Additional financing for Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification Development project II, $78.4 mn, (v) Modern Food Storage, $210 mn, (vi) Municipal Governance and Services, $410 mn (vii) Rural Electricity Transmission and Distribution, $600 mn; and (viii) VAT Improvement Program, $60 mn.

The World Bank's total disbursement for FY14 was, however, US$ 944 million which was higher than the FY13 disbursement of $765 million.

The World Bank financing in terms of both new commitment and disbursement saw a higher trend in FY 14 in comparison with the previous year.

The total new commitment of World Bank in FY 13 was $1.6 billion while the World Bank board approved seven IDA projects totaling $ 1.56 billion in the same year.

Out of all the development partners in the FY 13, the World Bank provided the highest amount of foreign aid to Bangladesh despite a row between the government and the Washington-based lending agency over the much-hyped Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project.

At the end of FY13, the World Bank portfolio in Bangladesh stood at $4.8 billion in 29 projects (only IDA projects).

The World Bank official said disbursements to Bangladesh reached $765 million in FY13 (from IDA, TFs, PPFs, and closed projects in their grace periods) compared to $ 600 million disbursed in FY12.

The World Bank portfolio now consists of 32 IDA financed projects with total commitment of $6.5 billion. It has been the largest development partner of Bangladesh, committing more than $17.6 billion to advance Bangladesh’s development priorities since the country’s independence.

Meanwhile, the country has received the highest disbursement of foreign aid in its history in the last fiscal year (FY 14) totalling $ 3 billion, according to the ERD.