WB to avoid projects with high corruption risks: GoldsteinStaff Correspondent
The World Bank country director Ellen Goldstein on Wednesday said that
construction of Padma Bridge project was not shelved though the bank has decided to move away from high-risk areas and activities that involve corruption.
‘The World Bank will avoid high-risk implementing agencies, areas and activities in Bangladesh under a new action plan taken in April 2012 to address corruption risks and reduce exposure to risks in WB programmes,’ she told a meeting organised by American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh.
AmCham president Aftab ul Islam presided over the meeting where the topic of discussion was ‘Developing with Integrity : Addressing the Governance Challenge in Bangladesh’.
Goldstein said though the bank would move away from high-risk activities and development programmes of implementing agencies with high corruption records, WB would stay engaged with Bangladesh in its development efforts like it did in the past.
Replying to a question on the Padma Bridge project, Goldstein said, ‘We
[donor agencies] are in discussion with the government right now on how to address corruption issues and implement Padma Bridge project in a transparent way.’
The project is not shelved anyway but the country needs to build a high quality bridge which would not involve any corruption, she added.
‘We are hopeful that we will find a solution through the discussion as people want to see the bank in financing of Padma Bridge construction and we would also like to do that,’ the WB country director said.
However, the bank and other development partners need necessary assurance of transparency in procurement process and mutual level of trust to go further, she added.
Terming corruption a heightened concern, she said that recent corruption problems in the bank’s own portfolio, particularly in Padma Bridge project, prompted its senior management to question overall engagement in Bangladesh.
The WB has taken safeguard measures to reduce corruption risks and focus new activities in human services, climate change, governance and accountability in Bangladesh, she added.
Ellen expressed concern on the recent deterioration in governance issues like political confrontation, uncertain policy environment, pressure on media and non-governmental actors, increases in government borrowings and subsidies, decreased private credit, structural reforms and regulatory frameworks.
She said that deterioration in these issues would hamper in achieving targeted gross domestic growth rate and poverty alleviation.
Mainstream access to information, openness and use of technology to strengthen citizens’ engagement and government accountability are needed for improving service delivery, she added.
Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) executive director Iftekharuzzaman, AmCham treasurer Hasan Mazumdar, executive director A Gafur, Abdul Monem Ltd deputy managing director Mainuddin Monem, among others, took part in discussion.
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