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PRESS RELEASE

Project Signing: US$ 150 million in World Bank financing will create jobs for the poor in the lean season

December 18, 2010



DHAKA, December 18, 2010:  The Government of Bangladesh today signed a credit agreement with the World Bank worth US$ 150 million for the “Employment Generation Program for the Poorest”.  The program creates employment in rural areas for the extreme poor during the lean season, and is expected to create 200 million person-days of employment over a three year period.

"Our mandate is to reduce poverty, and this requires shared growth in which the poorest are not left behind" said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director of the World Bank. "The World Bank will provide funding for wage-earners, but will also help ensure that funds are well-targeted to those who are most in need.”

Building upon Government’s earlier employment generation interventions, the program will target both the poorest upazilas and the poorest households.  It will address seasonal poverty by allowing the poorest to earn income, and can be scaled up if the situation demands. 

The program will create employment for day laborers, particularly for vulnerable women, who are often out of work during the lean season.  Despite considerable progress in poverty reduction in the past twenty years, many of the poorest women are still without employment.  The program will ensure that the poorest women make up at least one-third of those employed. 

“The Government of Bangladesh is committed to extend the safety net to protect the poorest and the vulnerable population while ensuring a more efficient, accountable and transparent system” said Mr. M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, Economic Relations Department. “Wages to the day laborers will be paid through formal financial channels to ensure the efficiency and transparency of the system.”

Each year, the program will run for a total of 100 days, spanning two lean seasons: one from October to December and another from March to May when rural day laborers are often out of work.  Households where the head is a manual laborer and which have less than ½ acre of land will be eligible for the program. It is estimated that over 600,000 men and women will benefit from the program during each lean season.

Mr. M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division signed on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh, and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, on behalf of the World Bank at a ceremony held at the Economic Relations Division.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, has 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period; and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.

Media Contacts
In Dhaka
Mehrin A. Mahbub
Tel : (880-2) 8159001 Ext. 4251
mmahbub@worldbank.org
In Washington
Mohamad Al-Arief
Tel : (202) 473-4627
malarief@worldbank.org


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