WB offers help for hydroelectricity, gas exploration

The Word Bank (WB) is satisfied with the spending of its funds in Bangladesh during the first five months of the present government and pledged increased assistance for rapid socio-economic development of the country.

Pulok Chatterji, WB’s executive director for the South Asian Region, made the recognition when he called on Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina at the PM’s office yesterday morning.

PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed newsmen after the meeting, where the prime minister and the multilateral donor agency’s official discussed a wide range of issues, including the country’s financial policy.

Hasina deplored that despite having all prospects, Bangladesh could not attain development at the desired pace as democracy was not allowed to be practiced uninterrupted in the past.

“After a long time, the patriotic people of Bangladesh have got democracy through the free and fair election on December 29. And the government has already been able to establish an environment of confidence among the people. Now, the nation is advancing towards its cherished prosperity,” the premier said.

She reaffirmed her government’s strong commitment to ensure maximum welfare of the mass people. “People’s welfare is the government’s topmost priority.”

As the PM laid emphasis on the development partners’ cooperation in development of energy, power, infrastructure sectors, including road transport, railway and waterway in the country, Pulok assured her of providing necessary assistance.

Government works on the Padma Bridge were also discussed.

Pulok said Bangladesh could take WB assistance for generating hydroelectricity and exploration of gas.

The PM said though the country’s power sector had not seen any development in the last seven years, the present government has already been able to improve the situation through planned activities.

She said the present government is working hard to create a social safety net through eradicating poverty and providing quality health services to people of every walk of life.

Hasina apprised the WB executive director that the previous Awami League government had a project to set up 18,000 community health clinics across the country.

But the next BNP-Jamaat government had stopped the project though several thousand of the total community health clinics were set up, she said.

“The present government will set up the health clinics which will be greatly effective to reach quality health facilities to the grassroots people of the country.”

The premier and the WB executive director also discussed the impacts of global warming and the way out of the hazards of climate change.

Hasina said the present government is fully conscious about the hazardous impacts of the climate change.

“We have planned capital and maintenance dredging of the rivers, which will be very helpful in preserving water and reclaiming agricultural lands.”

The PM further laid emphasis on regional cooperation in trade and business for economic emancipation of the people.

Dr Mashiur Rahman, economic affairs adviser to the PM, PM’s Office Secretary Mollah Waheeduzzaman and former ambassador Ziauddin were present.

Source: The Daily Star, 27 May 2009


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