The World Bank and the government on Thursday 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 assistance is the last in a series of three credits under the Programmatic Jobs Development Policy, which focuses on key reforms to create quality and inclusive jobs, while supporting the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The World Bank says the programmes support policies to modernise the trade and investment regime; improve social protection for workers; and help youth, women, and vulnerable people access quality jobs.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the poor and vulnerable population,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director.
“This financing supports government policies to protect those most affected by the pandemic and create more and better jobs as Bangladesh continues its journey towards its vision of becoming an upper-middle-income country.”
A WB news release mentioned that 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, said the release adding that women and youth have been particularly hard hit.
The global agency said the Jobs Development Policy Credit series has helped the government protect five million jobs, and enabled firms to continue paying their workers’ wages.
It is said to have supported the migrant workers who have had to return to Bangladesh due to the pandemic. The programme is also expected to support informal micro-entrepreneurs in recovering by extending micro-finance facilities.
“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 at the government’s 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.”
The WB release said the programme has already resulted in reducing costs of starting a business; making the skills development sector more labour-market relevant; strengthening labour regulations for improved working conditions; and promoting quality daycare to enable more women to join the labour force.
The agreements were signed by Fatima Yasmin and Mercy Tembon on behalf of the two sides.