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ADB allocates $250mn for Bangladesh to boost social protection

 Published: 11:46, 11 June 2024

ADB allocates $250mn for Bangladesh to boost social protection

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh yesterday signed a $250 million loan agreement to further strengthen Bangladesh's social protection system.

Edimon Ginting, Country Director, ADB and Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD) signed the loan agreement on behalf of the two parties respectively, at a ceremony at ERD in Dhaka yesterday.

"The Second Strengthening Social Resilience Program aims to accelerate reforms in increasing the coverage and efficiency of the protection, improving the financial inclusion of disadvantaged people, and strengthening the response to diversified protection needs," said Country Director Edimon Ginting.

"Building on the first Strengthening Social Resilience Program completed in June 2022, the second program helps improve the policy, regulatory, and institutional environment for social protection in Bangladesh," Ginting added.

This new ADB program supports the government's Action Plan Phase II of the National Social Security Strategy, 2021-2026, to strengthen protective and preventive capacity of the social protection system in Bangladesh, said a press release.

The program will help improve efficiency in the social protection program management, enhance protection for the most vulnerable, and improve the social protection scope by introducing contributory protection schemes. This will help reduce vulnerability, exclusion, and the risk of people falling into further poverty.

The program introduces a verification scheme of beneficiary's survival for cash-based social protection programs to reduce leakages. It also consolidates two cash-based protection programs for people with disabilities to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

It will integrate climate adaptive measures into social protection to strengthen resilience against climate vulnerability, including identification of people who are most at risk to climate change-induced disasters to help determine the appropriate assistance.

ADB's support strengthens the protection for vulnerable women and transgender people by increasing the number of beneficiaries under the widow allowance program and expanding the coverage of the livelihood support program for transgender people.

In addition, Bangladesh Bank is doubling its funding for the Small Enterprise Refinancing Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs to expand access of women small business operators to financial services.

Another aim of the program is to strengthen the governance mechanism of the employment injury scheme pilot, focusing on the ready-made garments sector.

It also supports establishing a tripartite committee-comprising workers' association, employers' association, and the government-on social protection for workers under the Ministry of Labour and Employment as a key institutional arrangement in further developing the country's social insurance schemes.

ADB will provide a $1 million grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund (TASF 7) and another $1 million grant from the ADB-administered Community Resilience Partnership Program Trust Fund under the Community Resilience Financing Partnership Facility to support program implementation, technical and policy analyses, and capacity building of relevant government agencies.