DHAKA, December 17, 2017 – The World Bank has approved an additional $245 million to improve the equity, efficiency and transparency of major safety net programs in Bangladesh. To support the poor and vulnerable, the government implements a number of safety net programs.
The financing to the ongoing Safety Net Systems for the Poorest Project will benefit nine million poorest households. It will help improve performance of some of the country’s largest safety net programs, which are implemented by the Department of Disaster Management. These safety nets include public workfare and humanitarian assistance programs.
“In FY 2017, Bangladesh spent around $3.5 billion on social protection, which is about 1.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product,” said Rajashree Paralkar, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The World Bank’s engagement in the sector contributes to the building of common digital platforms to better administer safety net programs, which would ensure effective use of public resources.”
To help streamline safety net program administration, the project is helping build common platforms for improved beneficiary targeting, information management, and digital payment. The financing will support the Department of Disaster Management to roll out a management information system to administer beneficiary records and program processes, as well as expand digital payment to beneficiaries with greater efficiency and transparency.
It will also support the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to complete the country’s first universal poverty registry–the National Household Database–which will be integrated with external information systems, allowing various ministries and agencies to use its data for more equitable beneficiary selection.
“The Department of Disaster Management will build upon ongoing efforts to strengthen implementation of its safety net programs,” said Ashiq Aziz, Task Team Leader, World Bank. “The additional financing will continue to support the establishment of an integrated social protection service delivery system envisioned in the National Social Security Strategy, comprising a single registry, financially-inclusive payment systems, strengthened beneficiary selection processes, effective grievance mechanisms, as well as results-based monitoring and evaluation.”
With the additional financing, the World Bank’s total commitment to the Project stands at $745 million. The project will close on June 30, 2019.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional lending arm. The credits are interest-free and repayable in 38 years, including a 6-year grace period, and carry a service charge of 0.75 percent.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed over $26 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country. In recent years, Bangladesh has been the largest recipient of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.