WB to provide $29mn for creating jobs in EPZs


WB to provide $29mn for creating jobs in EPZs
Author / Source : Independent Online report

DHAKA: The World Bank will provide US$ 29 million for creating jobs in the country’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs) for 11,000 poor women of Monga-prone areas.

The government on Sunday signed a US$29 million financing agreement with the World Bank for the Northern Areas Reduction of Poverty Initiative (NARI) project, said a World Bank press release.

It said the project will help the vulnerable women overcome the difficulties of migration and get a chance to successfully adapt to a new life.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.

NARI project would facilitate successful migration of around 11,000 poor women from five northern Monga-prone districts – Gailbandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, and Rangpur.

These women would receive technical and life-skills training, transitional housing, counseling and job placement services. Migration of poor women from the impoverished northwestern districts to formal employment in the garment sector is substantially lower than that of poor women from other parts of the country.

“The NARI project is the first World Bank-financed operation in South Asia with a specific focus on the empowerment of vulnerable women through employment in a formal sector,” said World Bank Country Director Ellen Goldstein.

“It has the potentials of fundamentally changing the lives of thousands of poor rural women, and possibly many more once the pilot is scaled up to other parts of Bangladesh and other sectors, if successful.”

The project will also undertake awareness raising activities in the pilot districts. The candidates, to be selected through a screening process, will be helped find employment in Dhaka, Karnaphuli, and Ishwardi Export Processing Zones (EPZ). Training centers and dormitory for transitional housing will be constructed in these EPZs.

The training centers will accommodate 300 trainees at a time. The dormitories attached to the training centre will accommodate 600 women for a transitional period of six months. The graduates will also get assistance for finding permanent housing.

The project directly contributes to the government’s pro-poor growth vision said ERD secretary Iqbal Mahmood.


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