"The program will help diversify the country's export products and destinations. Improved connectivity will facilitate subregional trade and commerce among the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries,” added Hayashi.

The ADB loan package includes a $90 million policy-based loan, which will support reforms in areas including bringing the country's customs legal frameworks in compliance with international standards, improving cargo clearance processes, and strengthening the capacity of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Ministry of Commerce, said an ADB press release.

To complement the policy reforms, a $53 million project loan will construct integrated land customs stations and land ports of NBR and the Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) at Akhaura, Sonamasjid, and Tamabil border crossing points (BCPs). Facilities and equipment for customs clearance and cargo transshipment operations will also be installed.

ADB will provide a $1.5 million technical assistance grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund to support the modernization of the customs legal framework and coordination among the border agencies, prepare an operationalization plan of central customs facilities, strengthen NBR's capacity to implement modernized customs operations at BCPs, and build the project implementation capacity of NBR and BLPA.

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