The government of Bangladesh recently signed a US$250 million development policy operation to support the country’s reform efforts to create large-scale, better-paid and inclusive jobs.
The Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit—the first of a series of three planned operations—will help Bangladesh build a stronger policy and institutional framework to create faster and more inclusive jobs for citizens, including women, youth, overseas migrants and the vulnerable members of the population.
“Jobs are the cornerstone for development. Bangladesh needs to create more and better jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector to achieve its growth aspirations,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
“The program will support reforms that would address key challenges in creating inclusive and quality jobs. This will help the government implement policies to modernize trade, stimulate investment, strengthen social protection systems for workers and help vulnerable people access jobs.”
The program takes a comprehensive approach to overcome the binding constraints to job creation.
It aims to help leverage Bangladesh’s comparative advantage in manufacturing sector while stimulating investment, making doing business easier, and modernizing customs and trade facilitation.
To ensure workers’ protection, it will also help implement amendments to the labor law and reform the pensions program.
In recent years, the pace of job creation has slowed, especially for women and youth. They are often engaged in low quality informal jobs with weak protection for workers.
Vulnerable to climate change
Further, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
A recent study shows that a 15 percent increase in the share of non‐agricultural employment would significantly reduce the impacts of climate change on living standards.
The program will support reforms to help Bangladesh create jobs sustainably by adapting to the rapidly changing environment as well as managing the risks related to climate change.
“The Seventh Five Year Plan, Vision 2021 and the electoral pledge, “Bangladesh on the March to Prosperity,” have identified creating quality and inclusive jobs as a priority for the country,” said Monowar Ahmed, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.
“The program will help the government’s ongoing initiatives to create labor intensive quality jobs while laying the foundation for a more resilient economy and stronger social protection.”
With 36 percent of females in the labor force versus around 82 percent of males, women face more challenges in accessing quality jobs.
The program will help increase female labor force participation by making childcare more available for working mothers and targeting women and youth with training and employment services.
The agreement was signed by Monowar Ahmed and Qimiao Fan on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), and has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. It carries a service charge of 0.75 percent and an interest of 1.25 percent.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion, mostly in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program totaling $12.4 billion.