Dhaka, December 14, 2009: The World Bank has disbursed a record US $ 1 billion to Bangladesh over the last two fiscal years (FY2008 -09). This trend is likely to continue in the current fiscal year according to Ellen Goldstein, the World Bank Country Director. In her initial meeting with Sheikh Hasina, Honorable Prime Minister, Goldstein reaffirmed the World Bank’s willingness to increase support for growth-enhancing infrastructure, social development and nutrition programs and local delivery of public services.
In addition to disbursements from the existing portfolio, the World Bank committed a record amount of over US$ 1 billion for new operations during the last fiscal year (FY09). Many of these operations are beginning to disburse this year. The World Bank will seek to commit a similar amount in the current year in line with Government priorities.
The World Bank continues to maintain disbursements during the current year under its existing projects. The amendments in the PPA 2006 concern only local procurement contracts which are less than a third of total World Bank-funded procurement. To ensure smooth continuation of local procurement, the World Bank has already sent revised financing agreements for the World Bank-financed projects to Government for counter signature.
“The World Bank is maintaining a steady flow of disbursements to Bangladesh. The amount flowing into the country far exceeds repayments, so the World Bank makes a strong positive contribution to development in Bangladesh” said Goldstein. “In this respect, I discussed with the Honorable Prime Minister our expected support for construction of the Padma Bridge, which is a transformative investment aimed at unlocking the development potential of the Southwest Region.”
In addition to discussion of the bridge project, Ms. Goldstein congratulated the Honorable Prime Minister on her global leadership on climate change issues on behalf of the most vulnerable countries. She commended Government on the recent publication of its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, and offered World Bank support for its effective implementation.
Ms. Goldstein, who joined as Country Director last month, also met recently with Ministers, Secretaries and members of civil society with whom she engaged in development dialogue. The country’s priorities will be reflected in the World Bank’s new Country Assistance Strategy for 2010-2013, which is now under preparation.