An Interesting Debate started on Role of World Bank: You can join here

Aman Rahman Wrote in his status at Facebook
Aaman Rahman Wondering how long the world bank-IMF duo will keep sucking commoners blood to remain alive? Isnt 60 years enough?…..
Comments of Readers:
You and Subhagya M. Chakma like this.
Subhagya M. Chakma
I think their milestone is still far away…as the global reality hints.
Taibur Rahman Sumon
How WB works? It has no interest rate for poor country. only 0.75% service charge with 10 + 30 years of repayment period. How it sucks commoners blood? rather money taken from WB is wasted by the government and blame goes to WB. We have very poor negotiation skill and weak backbone. 25% of our development budget comes from WB. However we seldom lend money from IMF. We should blame ourselves not others.

Aaman Rahman
….sumon vai nice to hear from u…the thing is…when Bd got independence which was the single most thrust sector of our economy?Obviously agriculture..contributing almost half of the gdp. and which agriculture commodity earned 75% of export earning? it was jute and jute products…bd also hv to fight for independence with pak bcoz of its due … Read Moreshare from jute economy. in 72 there were 77 jute industries accommodating almost 1 million low and semi skilled workforce and around twenty backward and forward linked industries were dependent on it, which also accommodated another half a mln of labor force. this is only one instance….bd steel and eng corp, state owned textile mills, hardboard mills, newsprint mills…what happened to these manufacturing industries hving strong backward linkage in the country. now how many of these state owned enterprises are in operation and how much labor force do they accommodate. bro only 14 jute mills are left alive….(basically those are half dead already)…steel, fertilizer, textiles…in the name of structural adjustment/ privatization and deregulation most of them are just disappeared from the public books of account. upon whose conditionality the govt have did this? just ask any of the rickshaw-pullers in narayanganj or in khulna..they wont be hesitated to grab the answer for you. yes certainly the corrupted civil and army bureaucrats and the back-boneless politicians hv had implemented the SAP to de-industrialize the country, often by force..often to capitalize personal gains from it. it doesnt mean “we” did it. to me and many of us “we” means who are for the commoners. all of these massacres are done by “them”, who are only for profit… cud be the imperialists, multinational corps, the world bank, or their local agents. its not like deshi vs bideshi. and by the way, the food crisis/ price hike now a days people experience in bd, its also the outcome of world banks strategy…sap. in bd is expensive bcoz of imf and their contractionery fiscal policy in the name of prgf. evidences are in the central banks reports. world bank’s prescribed work on impact of structural adjustment program called SAPRI is another report to get through. however evidences are in front of our eyes….we do not need to proof gravity law again.
Taibur Rahman Sumon
Aaman, I appreciate your deep analysis though You have provided some journalistic view. Most of the conditionalities given by WB are project based not policy based. I am not talking abt IMF as I have little knowledge abt their system of operation. I worked for about 5 years as counter part desk-officer of WB in ERD. Now a days, the conditionalities… Read More are too soft covering long term aspects like good governance, reform in the procurement system, proper financial reporting, tariff adjustment and so on and those are like proposals asking only for commitment from the government not the actual achievment as those cant be achieved in short term. There are some corruption possibilities in WB local office jointly with implementing GoB officials. Unfortunately still those officials in WB local office are Bangladeshi. You shouldnt just follow what rickshaw puller says or follow popular blame game. Those are mostly political speech. WB is still contributing 30% of our dev budget and all the govt are trying to increase the amount. Why, even with those political blame game? There could be some mis leading policy advise from WB like in the Jute sector. But those are not conditionalities and Govt were not forced to implement that. They are just a Bank and its is up to us whether we take money from them or not. I find WB, ADB (though interest rate is little bit high 3-4%), Japan (the best single contributor), EU as our best development partner. But we have to be smart and patriotic enough to utilise those money.

Even if u dont like their terms, dont take the money and if you desparately need the money then you have to compromise a little bit.

Aaman Rahman
good to hear that u work in erd. then we cud get insights from the inside. thnx.
Prodip Kumar Roy
The discussion inspires me to write here about my understanding. I think, it is very important for us, particularly who are thinking about the interest of common people. Through these discussion, we will get a clear picture of aid politics which are conducted globally through diplomatic ways.

First, we know, a major part of our development budget is formulated based on supports occurs from development partners like WB and WB provides soft loan to LDCs like Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a legitamate right to get loan from development partners and the development partners have a responsibility to assist the LDCs . It is not emotional talks; rather it is rational and binding responsibility of rich countries and development partners to assist the LDCs. These binding responsibilties has been set out at diffirent global declaration including goal 8 of millennium declaration commits for global partnership.

So, it is not so simple to summerise that if you don’t like, you don’t take! It is a very poor approach and from such kind of thinking, we could never realise the policy implementation procedures (development politics or aid politics) of WB and other development partners…. Read More

Mr. Sumon said that conditionalities given by WB project based, not policy based! It is very narrow thinking! Projects are negotiated and indentified under the policy guidelines of WB. So, we could not think, conditionalities imposed project based. Here is an example: Recently you know, the government is negotiating an implementation strategy with WB ON 15 years mega project for agricultural sector, `National Agriculture Technology Project (NATP)’ and the WB pressures to government to inlcudes NGOs as CIGs and reform of Bangladesh Agricultural Reseach Council (BARC). Why? Because, WB is finding opportunity to utilise their foreign experts (scientists) to the project. Why? Because from these foreign experts, they will identify such technology and recommendations which will suit for multi-national companies. Particularly these external expert will recommend mono-culture hybrid, GMO which makes absolute dependency on multi-national companies which will destroy our agriculture in the near future. As a lender, WB has not right to impose these conditionalities. But they do it, because our poor political understanding about global politics.

We all know that, WB pressured Bangladesh to reduce subsidy at agriculture and reform of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation. To implement the policy advises of WB, we have already destroy our agricultural supply chain which impacts in our daily lifes.

Most of the time, here also, we blames our politicians and bureaucrats for poor skills and knowledge. But think about the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and so-called PRSP. Through these reform programme, there have created a lot of opportunities to become a corrupted people. Any consequences, the nation becomes corrupted no 1. Then WB puts their finger to reduce corruption. Through implementing these reform projects, the politicians has been washed out from political field and business persons becomes politicians. So, we need to think, every aspects of any reform programme which advised by our lenders as policy guidelines.

Taibur Rahman Sumon
“Thank you mr. Prodip for ur insights. Again I suggest to review in detail the negotiation process of project loans. pushing foreign consultants in bangladeshi projects is not WB’s agenda, however some officialas of WB are definitely trying to do this because of their personal interest and linkages. Here comes the negotiation skills required by the GoB officials and their political leaders. With proper skill it is definitely possible to protect country interest first. If we are firm and logical, no WB officials would be able to force us to keep options for foreign consultants who are most of the time inefficient and unaware about the context. Well I agree that PRSP is somewhat a superficial document but not a bad one. We have weakness in plan making process. All the output either PRSP or five year plan would be superficial.

WB again cant force us to take their identified projects. We can identify our projects and we do this regularly though there are lot of arguments about their quality and relevance.

I dont agree that aid is our right. I rather dont like taking aid if we could manage without that. However, within near future we must have to beg for aid. If u say its our right u wouldn’t get any.

If WB does not provide any funding for agriculture, then we should invest our own money there. We need not to wait for them with our priority. 30% of our dev. budget goes to capacity building project amongst which 80% is totally wasted in useless foreign study tour and training.

 We have to fight with knowledge with WB counterpart officials for appropriate conditionalities but not saying that aid is our right.

How long we would take aid? domestic resource mobilization is must. And if WB suggests that, they are bad as taxes and tariffs go high. Thaks a lot for this interesting practical development debate. I wouldn’t be available to comment on this further for next month.

Prodip Kumar Roy

First, thanks Mr.Taibur Rahman Sumon for providing some important information. I think, we can discuss and discussion will enhance our capacity and skills to advocate to formulate pro-people policies and projects.
I agree with you in most of the points. We know, we need capacity, skills of negotiation. We also know, we formulate our projects and WB… Read More just provides feedback as advises. But insights is not limited in this process. Hope, I will explain it here later.
I will take another opportunity later to explain my points of view on Rights of Aid and we also need capacity and skills to establish this approach. Thanks again for giving us time in this discussion and hope we will continue it later.
all these projects r taken 4 the sake of WB and some consultants.ironically,the political parties like:AL or BNP although pretends to be confronting each other on many issues,but r in equal position for taking loans from WB or ADB or any other IFI,without thinking about the interest of the country.
Thanks for comments. I have added your comments at my blog on a same discussion which is stated there.
I think, we can form a group to assess every project of WB and ADB. If you are interested, please response. I think, it will work in policy influence.
thanks prodip da 4 including my comments on ur blog.but i think if u really mean it,i would become interested.but,i think u should think beyond blog only.b’coz these issues should reach the people who r really concerned and also the literate citizens at least,if u can not reach the common mass.

also,think about the policies that these IFI’s r enforcing,which is affecting the common citizens dail life.for ex:price hiking in sectors like: energy,water,health etc.or pressuring the govt.ments to become captives of IOC’s through leasing energy &mineral resources.wholesale prescription 4 privarization etc.

Thanks! Really we need to work project by project. Because most of time, we fails to influence policy due to lack of presenting appropriate evidence and impacts.
I know, we should mobilise the people. Blog is not the appropriate platform. So, we need to create a working group for study and advocacy who will present continuously project impacts to the country people.
Actually I am confused with the so called literate and concerned people of our country. Whom you are going to make understand ??? Few people are really concerned but they don’t have the power to change the system. Others are conscious culprit who are just interested in their own benefit. They don’t bother about the country. Actually we need … Read Morepoliticians and Govt. high officials whom we can call GREAT; I mean we need a good system and to run that we need skilled people who have patriotism in them with intellectuality. Great politicians/leaders will not arise if we don’t have conscious general people. To make people conscious, we need good education system. All the people of our country have to be literate in true sense. It is a complex thing and cannot be achieved within short time. We need to work and wait for that moment. For the time being, we need to fight with the evils. I am a simple citizen of my country. I don’t understand the complex issues of WB / ADB Loan etc. But I can understand that if we have good politicians/ leaders then we will do great… Otherwise our country will continue suffering. If needed take loan but with that loan do good for our people. There is the gap. We take loan but we don’t know how to utilize that loan in positive way for our people. It is a financial management theory that, don’t take loan for any purpose which will not generate money. In our case(considering the country) if needed we can take loan to generate something good for our better future. We need proper persons on these positions who handle these matters. I know I could not express my thoughts clearly. Complexity is there. Acutally when I think I don’t find any solution. Because problem is in our system where corruption is the key word. When will our politicians understand that how powerful are they and they can give a good system to our nation. It is very much needed. We have the mass power, just we need the guideline. (People who are really concerned it is for them -> Do some systems over their systems so that they become bound to think good about the country. Prepare yourselves and lift you up to those positions with a strong network. There is always a chance to begin as there is always hope…) [ You people are working on more complex isssues, I know. I just wanted to share my thoughts. Thanks.
Shourav, Thanks for your comments. I think, you have highlighted some important questions! Thanks again.



One thought on “An Interesting Debate started on Role of World Bank: You can join here”

  1. Dear Reader, I think, we could form a working group on WB-IMF-ADB Projects. If you are interested, please response here with your e-mail ID. If you have any special interest in any specific project, please also indicate the name of the project. If we take responsibility to assess a project individually, then the group could present the whole picture of development practice of WB-IMF-ADB in Bangladesh.

    Together we act more!

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