3 years ago

World Bank to review 17 ‘slow’ projects

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The World Bank (WB) is going to appraise its funded 'slow-moving' projects in Bangladesh soon, which were on the weak trajectory in terms of implementation.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) officials said the Washington-based lender would sit for a tripartite meeting expected to be held on March 23-24.

ERD officials and project directors (PDs) of the ongoing WB-supported projects would attend the meeting.

"We will sit in late March for reviewing the slow-moving projects. The meeting will discuss possible solutions to the hurdles standing in the way of implementing these projects," said Abdul Baki, Additional Secretary of the ERD.

"We've selected some projects, whose progress is rather slow, although funding from the WB (for those) has already been confirmed. So, we need to streamline the projects," he added.

Another official said the WB had selected some 17 ongoing projects, which were branded as 'slow-moving'.

These included the Modern Food Storage Facility Project (MFSFP) - supported with US$420 million fund, $500 million Livestock and Dairy Development Project, $240 million Bangladesh Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project, $450 million Enhancement and Strengthening of Power Transmission Network in Eastern Region Project, $100 million Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project, and $59 million Power System Reliability and Efficiency Improvement Project.

According to the officials, many of these 17 projects are in the weak trajectory in terms of implementation despite the WB's approval.

Among the projects, the Modern Food Storage Facility Project was approved by the WB board in December 2013. But it had been a very slow moving project since then, whose closing date was extended up to April 2022.

The Livestock and Dairy Development Project was approved in December 2018, which had been also in the slow lane.

Similarly, execution of many of those projects was being affected due to multiple hurdles, the ERD officials also said.

Another official said they would sit for an inter-ministerial meeting in mid-March with the project officials concerned for analysing the present status of the projects to talk about these in the meeting.

"We are hopeful of finding out some solutions and certain action plans for implementing the projects in the remaining period of their respective tenure," he added.

Currently, the WB's portfolio in Bangladesh consists of nearly 52 projects with a total commitment of $13.6 billion worth of loans and grants.

In the last fiscal year, 2019-20, the agency made a commitment to provide nearly $2.26 billion worth of assistance to Bangladesh.

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