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Tk 2,555cr spl project to address Covid crisis in small cities

Published : 09 Jan 2022 10:11 PM

The government has undertaken a special project in response to Covid-19 to help local government address the crisis and make a transition to recovery through a combination of saving lives and securing the foundations of the economy.

The project proposal states that urban areas of Bangladesh represent a large and growing part of the total population of the country, officials said. 

Although a significant portion of economic activity is conducted in urban areas, the impact of COVID-19 has been observed on the health problems of urban dwellers in Bangladesh and the lack of various services, they said. 

The government is playing a key role in addressing health challenges and mitigating economic impact, they mentioned.

An official of the Planning Commission said that the project proposal titled “Local Government Covid-19 Response and Recovery Project (LGCRRP)” has been sent to the planning commission.

The PEC (Project Evaluation Committee) meeting was held on June 21 last year after receiving proposals from the Local Government Department, Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Ministry, he mentioned. 

The project has been recommended to be presented at the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in compliance with the recommendations made at the meeting.

If approved, it will be implemented by the local government department by December 2025.

According to sources, the total cost of the project is estimated at Tk 2,555.25 crore. Of this, Tk 11.25 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk 2,544 crore from World Bank loans.

Mamun-al-Rashid, Member (Secretary) of the Planning Commission's Physical Infrastructure Division, said, “Construction of public toilets and supply of sanitation materials in cemeteries, crematoriums and schools, provision of essential infrastructure facilities such as drain construction, construction of public parks, road construction and installation of street lights, mobile apps for ensuring access to services and information of city institutions would be established.”

“It will be possible to develop IT-based revenue system to increase its own revenue,” he added.

The Planning Commission official also said that in view of these considerations, the project has been recommended to be submitted to ECNEC for approval.

The main activities of the project are: Covid Response Grant will be given in 329 municipalities worth Tk. 1,613.40 crore. 

Besides, Covid Response Grant in 10 City Corporations worth Tk 826.64 crore, Consultancy services worth Tk 55.90 crore, internal training worth Tk 11.85 crore, overseas training worth Tk 3 crore and audit and review worth Tk 6 crore will be done.

However, a large part of this responsibility falls on the Urban Local Government Institutions (ULGIs), which play a leading role in addressing the direct effects of the epidemic. 

While ULGIs have an important role to play in meeting the challenges of civic services and vital infrastructure, but they lack resources and skills.

At present, the allocations received by the city-based local government bodies for the construction of vital infrastructure including digital technology, water supply and sanitation, drain construction, road construction and street lighting are insufficient compared to the demand. 

Additional funds are required to manage the activities of these sectors. In addition, city-based local government bodies can play an important role in the registration of people who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and in the implementation of various awareness programs. The project is being taken up with these considerations.

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