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The government of Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at a tripartite portfolio review meeting (TPRM) Thursday discussed and agreed on actions to further improve the implementation of ADB-assisted projects for accelerating socio-economic recovery, reports BSS.

Kenichi Yokoyama, director general (DG) for ADB’s South Asia Department, in his opening remarks, appreciated the government’s efforts in maintaining strong economic recovery following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic despite increased global uncertainties, said a press release.

He also commended Bangladesh’s leadership in tackling the climate challenges through the updated nationally determined contribution, Mujib Prosperity Plan, and National Adaptation Plan. 

The DG emphasised reforms to improve the financial sustainability of Bangladesh railways, and business competitiveness to attract more investment, including from the private sector. 

The DG also called for working more closely to ensure higher project readiness, significant reduction of the procurement lead time, high discipline to achieve timely completion and closing of the projects, while ensuring occupational health and safety in all ADB-assisted projects.

Sharifa Khan, secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Edimon Ginting, ADB country director for Bangladesh, co-chaired the TPRM plenary sessions at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the capital.

More than 200 senior government officials, project directors, and ADB staff attended the event conducted with both in-person and virtual presence. This was the first in-person TPRM with large participants after the Covid-19 pandemic started in early 2020.

As ADB has almost doubled its portfolio in the last seven years, Country Director Edimon Ginting highlighted the need to double the effort in enhancing project implementation to deliver development benefits to people early and accelerate socio-economic recovery from the pandemic-induced losses.

The TPRM reviewed the progress of actions agreed in March 2022, readiness status of 2022 pipeline projects, and emphasized on the occupational health and safety at workplace.

During the TPRM, 34 selected projects were discussed with 89 issues and over 120 specific time-bound actions were agreed upon.

ADB’s sovereign portfolio in Bangladesh grew to $11.3 billion as of August 2022 increased from $6.5 billion in 2015. Projects worth of $2 billion were committed in 2021, and disbursed $2,569 million, the highest among ADB’s developing member countries. 

The targeted commitment for 2022 is about $2 billion. ADB operates in Bangladesh in six sectors - energy; transport; water and urban/municipal infrastructure and services; education; finance; and agriculture, natural resources, and rural development. The cumulative lending to Bangladesh stands at over $48 billion in loans and grants, including co-financing.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members - 49 from the region.