WB to come with robust portfolio in 2nd half of current fiscal

The World Bank (WB) is expected to come up with a robust portfolio in the 2nd half of the current fiscal year (2013-14) in Bangladesh with significant funding in a couple of projects including municipality governance improvement and emergency cyclone recovery.

For FY 14, the World Bank have a robust portfolio including US$ 410 million for Municipality Governance Improvement Project and $140 million additional financing for Emergency Cyclone Recovery and Remonstration Project, among others, an official of the World Bank’s Dhaka office told UNB.

wbThe official said that on December 3, 2013, the World Bank board approved additional financing of $ 390 million for the Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project and Higher Education Quality Enhancement.

The World Bank portfolio in Bangladesh now consists of 28 projects, with a total commitment of $ 4.8 billion. In FY 13, the World Bank board approved seven new IDA projects totaling $ 1.56 billion. Earlier, in June 2013, the World Bank approved: $ 400 million Coastal Embankment Improvement Project and $ 500 million Safety Net for the Poorest Program Project.

According to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), the Washington-based lending agency also remained active in Bangladesh in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY14) for which foreign aid flow to Bangladesh during the July-November period was somewhat higher at $ 987.34 million as against $ 969.26 million fetched during the same period of the last fiscal (2012-13).

Of the amount disbursed during the five-month period, loans amounted to $ 740.72 million while the grants $ 246.62 million, said an official at the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

Of the major multilateral and bilateral donors, the World Bank provided the highest amount of $ 287.17 million as loans while around $ 55 million as grants during the five-month period.

Out of all the development partners in the last fiscal year (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 stands at $4.8 billion in 29 projects (only IDA projects).

The World Bank official said that disbursements to Bangladesh reached $764.5 million in FY13 (from IDA, TFs, PPFs, and closed projects in their grace periods) compared to $ 600 million disbursed in FY12.

The World Bank had committed US$ 1.6 billion concessionary lending in FY13 for Bangladesh.

According to the ERD, foreign aid flow to Bangladesh in the last fiscal (FY13) was around $ 3,140 million lower than its commitments, but aid disbursement was higher totaling $ 2,786.13 million in the last fiscal compared to $ 2,126.47 million in fiscal 2011-12.

The commitment for the FY 13 was much higher as it was $ 5,926.05 million compared to $ 4,764.52 million during the previous year (FY 12).

Of the disbursed amount of $ 2,786.13 million for the FY 13, the ERD official said Bangladesh received $ 2134.3 million in loans while $ 651.7 million as grants.

In Bangladesh, the World Bank has been the single largest development partner, committing more than US$ 16 billion to advance Bangladesh’s development priorities since the country’s independent.

Since independence, the World Bank financing have helped build rural roads, send children to school, improve healthcare system, bring lights to home and help raise voice and accountability.

The World Bank’s support accounts for more than a quarter of disbursed aid in the country and  supported government efforts in economic stability and growth, power, infrastructure, disaster management, human and social development, and poverty reduction.

All World Bank financing to Bangladesh was by International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm. The IDA credit is interest free and only carries a service charge of 0.75 percent. The credit carries 40 year maturity period with a 10 year grace period.