| by Swadesh Roy

( April 14, 2014, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) The World Bank has made commitment a record amount of fund amoutning around $2.8 this fiscal year to Bangladesh. It is more than the previous highest commitment, which was in 2010-11. That time World Bank commitment was $2.1 but $ 1.2 was cancelled later, which was for Padma Bridge project.

World Bank cancelled the Padma Bridge fund though that the World Bank did not stop any other projects’ fund; even they allocated more fund in many project, which was big amount of fund. However, after cancelling the Padma Bridge fund, a psychological tension was going on between Bangladesh government and the World Bank. From the side of World Bank any comment did not come which was harmful for the relation but some politicians those who hold official position of the government of Bangladesh made some comments regarding World Bank which was not so decent. Besides that, inside of the government, there was an unhappiness regarding the cause of cancellation of Padma Bridge project funds; because it was not the charge of corruption, it was only conspiracy of corruption. So, government of Bangladesh might think that, it was a harsh decision of World Bank. The World Bank could continue the Padma project and they could investigate the conspiracy of the corruption of Padma Bridge Project with the help of Bangladesh government. Why the era of the Robert Zoellick of World Bank took that unkind decision and why Bangladesh Government failed to protect it is a mystery. Inside Bangladesh government has a speculation that some political cause played a vital role of it, even they took it seriously that during a visit of finance minister to New York, when he was asked by the international rating institute Mody whether it was the result of the bad relation between noble laureate Dr. Yunus.

However, Zoellick régime is now part of the history and the allegation of Padma corruption conspiracy case is going through investigations. Besides, from the very beginning of the era of Jim Yong King, World Bank is so soft with Bangladesh even they agreed to revive the cancellation of Padma Bridge project lone but Bangladesh failed to handle it smartly. Despite the Padma, other sectors were going on with World Bank very cordially. In addition to that, a question has arisen after 5th January elections, how the relation will go with the World Bank and Bangladesh. The World Bank is not any political institute; it is totally the Bank of the world. Bangladesh is also one of the owners of it, but reality is that the political influence of United States and Europe also focuses on the work of the World Bank. Not only the people of Bangladesh, the people who are concerned about Bangladesh politics in the world they knew that, most of the European countries and United States was not happy with the 5th January elections of Bangladesh. They were more influenced by the oppositions but they did not think about the terrorism of Bangladesh and the homeland security of South Asian countries. After the elections of Bangladesh, all the European countries and the United States have said that, the government of Bangladesh is constitutional so they will work with this government. In spite of that, there was a little bit confusion, how they will go with this government? Will they go like the Asian countries? After formation of the new government of Bangladesh, Asian big power India, China and Russia congratulated the government and they felt that without the constitutional government Bangladesh would be fall in a chaotic situation, which was harmful for Asian security. So, it was a big deal for Bangladesh and the Asian power, how west will behave with the new government of Bangladesh. The visit of the vice president, in charge of South Asia of the World Bank to Bangladesh has made clear the view of the west. Vice president Philippe le Houerou, visited Bangladesh from 28 March to 2nd April. In the mean time, he visited some of the development projects of Bangladesh and some rural areas. Besides that, he met finance minister and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Meeting with Prime Minister of Bangladesh and vice president of the World Bank was more remarkable. In that meeting, he addressed Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman as the father of the nation of Bangladesh. It proved that, they are with the constitutional process of Bangladesh. Because, through the constitution Sheikh Mujib is the father of the nation and he admitted that. Simultaneously, he also praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her huge contribution to women education and empowering and continuity of the success of the economy.

Therefore, the visit of the vice president of the World Bank is a new start with the new government of the Bangladesh and it is a good starting. The vice president committed around $2.8 million for this fiscal year. Obviously, it will help to produce next budget of Bangladesh. Here it has to mention that, vice president said that the fund would be used for declining poverty, empowering women, quality education and making infrastructures for rural electrification and others. Before the announcement of the vice president of the World Bank, finance minister of Bangladesh has given an outline of the budget to the press and the economic think tank of the country. He also said that, in this budget government would give more allocation for the quality of education besides that they will give the emphasis to build up electricity transmission and distribution systems. Because, government has given permission lot of electricity producing plant; that will produce twenty-one-thousand mega watt electricity within 2019. So, now it is very much needed for them to build up electricity transmission and distribution systems. If they can produce twenty-one-thousand mega watt electricity within 2019 and can set up the transmission and distribution lines within these time; they will be successful in rural electrification. By this assistant of the fund of World Bank, also want this. So now, it is clear the World Bank and new government of Bangladesh are marching shoulder to shoulder.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, the Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh he can be reach at swadeshroy@gmail.com

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