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World Bank to intervene in Bangladesh to curb corruption

Strikes called by political parties and their fronts eat up four per cent of the gross domestic product in B'desh, says the World Bank.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 12:07 IST

Strikes called by political parties and their fronts eat up four per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Bangladesh, says the World Bank, which is planning a number of "interventions" to set things right.

Levels of corruption and development match in Bangladesh, with the first negating the other, said World Bank Vice President Praful Patel.

Terming corruption in the power sector as high, he said, "From the World Bank side we are going to address this issue."

UNB news agency quoted Patel as saying while launching the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Bangladesh: "There is none who would disagree that we should try and reduce the amount of leakage that takes place in Bangladesh, but this is a subject that is always skirted around. In Bangladesh, everybody knows that in the power sector the biggest problem is corruption."

Patel quoted a UNDP study to emphasise that hartals - the strikes called by political parties, their fronts and trade unions - denied three to four percent of the GDP.

He also quoted World Bank figures that showed annual average per capita growth rate of Bangladesh could be 2.0-2.8 percentage points higher if corruption were reduced to the level of least corrupt countries.

"What is new now is we are looking at a full range of interventions. For example, in all new lending, we are going to look at how to build the institutional capacity in Bangladesh to monitor and spot leakage of funds," Patel said.

"So, if there is a power plant that is being built and we are financing that, if we find any irregularities in the procurement process we will act immediately to cancel the financing. This signal will go very fast, and it is already working."

He said the World Bank recently appointed a governance advisor and a legal and judicial advisor to support the effort.

"The World Bank is a committed long-term partner of Bangladesh. However, where money is misused the Bank will act swiftly to cancel contracts and demand the repayment of funds," he said.