The government of Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), at a tripartite portfolio review meeting held Wednesday, agreed on specific and time-bound actions to further accelerate the implementation of ADB-assisted projects.
Fatima Yasmin, secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, country director of the ADB, co-chaired the virtual meeting.
Around 250 senior government officials, project directors and ADB staff participated in the first such review meeting in 2020, discussing overall portfolio status and prioritised actions to achieve development results in a timely manner.
The special actions for improving project performance include: expediting the approval process of large contracts, expediting payment of mobilisation advance for large contracts, strengthening the implementation of health safety guidelines, plus providing virtual training to the project staff and beneficiaries.
Procurement, the quality of contractors and consultants, financial management, contract management, land acquisition and resettlement, project design, the development of project proposals, technical assistance, plus project proposal approval or revision are common challenges to improving project implementation.
"We intend to support the government's plan for post-pandemic socio-economic recovery by expediting project implementation and quick delivery of development results to the public," said Manmohan Parkash.
Complimenting support from the ERD, line ministries and project directors, Parkash said, "We need a problem-solving attitude, creativity, active learning, renewed commitment, and new technologies to overcome the pandemic-induced challenges and accelerate project implementation."
"We have agreed on a special set of actions to ensure the highest standards of health and safety protocol to mitigate Covid-19 risks in project implementation," Parkash added.
ADB's current portfolio has 49 projects with around $11 billion under its sovereign portfolio.
The ADB focuses on its cooperation with Bangladesh in several sectors: energy, education, finance, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, plus transport, water and urban/municipal infrastructure and services. ADB's cumulative lending to Bangladesh stands at around $26 billion.
ADB aims to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 of whom are from the region.