The World Bank today signed a $250 million financing agreement to help Bangladesh create more and better jobs, recover faster from the COVID 19 pandemic and build resilience to future crises.
The Third Programmatic Jobs Development Policy, the last in a series of three credits, focuses on key reforms to create quality and inclusive jobs, while supporting the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, said a World Bank press release.
It supports policies to modernize the trade and investment regime; improve social protection for workers; and help youth, women, and vulnerable people access quality jobs.
The agreement was signed by Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin and World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Mercy Tembon on behalf of the government and the World Bank respectively.
“The government has taken fast and proactive measures to protect the poor and vulnerable population and to mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on formal and informal businesses,” said Fatima Yasmin, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division.
“This program has helped protect the jobs and income of poor and vulnerable people while laying the groundwork for building resiliency to future shocks,” she added.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the poor and vulnerable population,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“This financing supports government policies to protect those most affected by the pandemic and create more and jobs as Bangladesh continues its journey towards its vision of becoming an upper-middle income country,” she added.
The pace of job creation has slowed in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Losses in jobs and income put livelihoods of several million at risk in both rural and urban areas. Women and youth have been particularly hard hit.
The Jobs Development Policy Credit series has helped the government protect 5 million jobs, and enabled firms to continue paying their workers’ wages.
It also supported the migrant workers who have had to return to Bangladesh due to the pandemic. The program will also support informal micro-entrepreneurs in recovering by extending micro-finance facilities.
The program has already resulted in reducing costs of starting a business; making the skills development sector more labor-market relevant; strengthening labor regulations for improved working conditions; and promoting quality daycare to enable more women to join the labor force.
The release said with this program, total World Bank financing under the Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit series stands at $750 million.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.
Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over $14 billion. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed more than $35 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country since its Independence.