The Financial Express

$18b education dev programme

Ministry, WB at loggerheads over issue of monitoring

| Updated: October 24, 2017 21:03:24

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The ministry of education (MoE) and the World Bank (WB) are now at loggerheads over latter's monitoring of the government's US$18 billion education development programme planned for next five years.


The trouble has surfaced as the WB wants to monitor the entire programme through its contribution to the programme is worth only $520 million, officials said Thursday.


The MoE is set to take up the $18 billion 'Secondary Education Development Programme' for implementation over the next five years.


Some development partners including the WB and the Asian Development Bank have already shown their interest in joining as co-financers with the government for the biggest ever education programme of the country, ministry officials said.


A senior MoE official said the Washington-based lender has assured the government of providing $520 million fund for the programme.


Besides, the ADB is likely to join the programme that will be largely financed by the government.


"Although the WB will provide only a small portion ($520 million) for the programme, it wants to monitor the entire project. Our ministry has the reservation about the WB's proposed condition.


The lender should have the authority only on the portion of the programme where it will be providing funds," the official told the FE.


"We have accepted many other terms and conditions, including anti-graft measures, set by the World Bank. But we are not ready to accept the above condition. If we consider that, we have to follow the procurement guidelines of the Bank for the entire programme," he said.


The MoE official said, "If we agree with the WB's condition relating to its monitoring of the entire programme, we will have to take its endorsement at every stage of all the procurements during the project execution period resulting in delay in execution."


The official said: "We will not be able to give works to the contractors or firms of our choice. Then we will be in trouble during project execution."


"Besides, we will not be able to disburse stipends smoothly if we abide by the WB guidelines, he said adding, "Our socio-economic condition is so complex that the government sometimes relaxes the rules and regulations for any programme."


Under the proposed project, the ministry will conduct all types of expenditures including stipends to students, salary payments to government-certified private school teachers and staffs, infrastructure development, training of teachers, ICT development, and library development.


The MoE official said: "There will be no separate development budget or revenue budget after introduction of the $18 billion programme.


The government will bankroll the programme providing funds from its revenue income internally and possible external financing from the development partners."


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