Deal signed with WB to modernise social protection cash transfer
Published : 28 Oct 2018, 17:23:39
The government on Sunday signed a $300 million financing agreement with the World Bank to modernise the cash transfer of major social protection programs.
This will bring transparency and efficiency in the disbursement process and help nearly 6.5 million poorest and vulnerable people, including the elderly, widows, and people with disabilities, get the benefit easily, said a press release.
The social protection programs of Department of Social Services (DSS) are: the Old Age Allowance; Allowances for the Widow, Deserted and Destitute Women; Allowances for the Financially Insolvent Disabled; and Stipends for Disabled Students.
Additional Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Mahmuda Begum and Qimiao Fan, World Bank country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.
The credit is provided by the International Development Association, the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, which provides grants or zero-interest loans.
The credit has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.
“An efficient, automated and transparent social protection service delivery system is critical to build resilience and create opportunities for the poorest people,” Qimiao Fan said on the occasion.
“The WB is helping the government build common digital platforms to better administer safety net programs. This will help reduce administrative costs and errors by identifying the most vulnerable people with greater accuracy and transferring cash in a timely manner,” added Fan.
In fiscal year 2018, Bangladesh spent about $ 5.8 billion on social protection or about 2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improving the efficiency of these programs will help Bangladesh to use public resources more effectively.
The DSS has already started digitizing beneficiary records of its cash transfer programs, and the project will help further strengthen case management and payment processes.
To accurately identify recipients of cash transfers, the project will help integrate DSS’s management information system with the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics’ National Household Database.
For more secure and accessible payments to beneficiaries, the system will be linked to the Finance Division’s centralized payment platform, and use a network of banking agents, among others. Such actions-utilizing existing or emerging systems-will help further develop an integrated social protection service delivery system in the country.
“The government is committed to develop a digitized modern social protection service delivery system,” said Mahmuda Begum.
“This project is a critical step forward towards this vision and aligned with the National Social Security Strategy, 2015,” she added.-BSS