Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project-1

Contextual Rationality of the Project:

Underscoring the importance of international trade, Bangladesh Government has taken up wider trade reform strategy and created coordination platform to increase the trade volume with the neighbor countries. The Project is designed to lower time and costs associated with trade and improve infrastructure and conditions for trade along strategically important regional transport corridors. The Project is jointly implemented by Ministry of Commerce (WTO Cell), Ministry of Shipping (BLPA) and Ministry of Finance (NBR).

Project Beneficiaries:

Project beneficiaries include passengers, producers, traders and transport services providers in Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Nepal, as well as communities living around the Project Corridors in Bangladesh.

Project Development Objective (PDO) Level Result Indicators and Outputs

Key intermediate indicators include

  • Number of land ports developed or improved (including female-friendly facilities).
  • Number of programs instituted to facilitate female traders and entrepreneurs.
  • Number of trade restrictions eased or lifted at targeted land ports.
  • National/Inter-ministerial Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee and sub-committees setup, operational and electing at least bi-monthly.
  • Number of agencies connected to the National Single Window (NSW) system.
  • Number of certificates, licenses and permits for import, export and transit of goods automated in the NSW system.

Expected Output

  • Regular coordination among the key border clearance agencies for trade and transport related issues.
  • Faster decision making for regional and international trade and transport related developments.
  • Enhanced compliance of Bangladesh with trade and transport related international policies.
  • Wider availability of information on women traders in Bangladesh.
  • Access to trade related services and improved productivity.
  • Integrated online database for women traders.
  • Women trader business service center/support center.
  • Access to finance as well as credit without collateral.
  • Smooth functioning of Bangladesh Trade Portal

Project Components

Component 1

Investments in infrastructure, systems and procedures to modernize and improve connectivity of key land ports essential for trade with India and Bhutan (USD 75 million, managed by BLPA of Ministry of Shipping).

Component 1a: Land Ports Infra­structure (USD 60 million IDA):

Component 1b: Land Port Moderni­zation and Process/Efficiency Improvement (IDA USD 12.5 million). Component 1c: Preparation Studies and Activities to Enhance Connectivi­ty of Land Ports and Project Imple­mentation Support (IDA USD 5.5 million)

Component 2

Support coordination for trade, and economic empowerment opportunities for women (IDA USD 7 million, managed by WTO Cell of Ministry of Commerce).

Component 2a: Support the (Inter-ministerial) National Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee (IDA USD 2 million).

Component 2b: Develop (pilot)
programs to support female traders
and entrepreneurs (IDA USD 5 million).

Component 2c: Up gradation and sustainability of Bangladesh Trade Portal and setting up a National Inquiry Point for Trade (IDA USD 1 million)

Component 3

National Single Window Implementa­tion and Strengthening Customs Mod­ernization (IDA USD 65 million, man­aged by Bangladesh Customs of National Board of Revenue)

National Single Window (NSW), through the introduction of en elec­tronic, online solution, will facilitate faster and more transparent interna­tional trade procedures. NSW will also reduce transaction costs borne by traders and provide consistency and certainty to the total process.

Economic Empowerment Opportunities for Women Traders:

About half of the population in Bangladesh is women. Women’s participation in different sectors is being remarkably increased due to various initiatives undertaken by the government. However, their participation in trade is still negligible due to various socio-economic barriers. To overcome these issues, the following gender issues will be addressed:

  1. Diagnostics and Scoping.
  2. Creating databases and networks of women entrepreneurs.
  3. Making investment climate work for women and addressing the barriers.
  4. Skills development connecting women traders to global value chains.
  5. Feasibility study for development of infrastructure and support facilities for women traders and workforce.

Working Groups to be formed under the Project

Working Group on Border Management and Infrastructure led by Bangladesh Land Port Authority of Ministry of Shipping.

Key Terms of Reference

  • Establish performance indicators that should be regularly monitored at land ports.
  • Establish a regular consultation mechanism with key stakeholders of land ports including private sector users.
  • Discuss problems identified by stakeholders, and the implementation status of the performance indicators at the regular meetings.
  • Suggest changes in the existing legal and statutory provisions that are detrimental to transport and trade facilitation.

Working group on National Single Window (NSW) led by Bangladesh customs of National Board of Revenue

Key Terms of Reference

  • Identify sector/sub-sector specific issues and measures to overcome the challenges.
  • Discuss and prepare the framework of long term strategic plan, annual plan and programs in order to recommend to the government for adoption and implementation.
  • Prepare the strategic plan for capacity development of various trade and transport related entities and their staffs.

Working Group for Women’s Trade/Economic Empowerment led by WTO Cell of Ministry of Commerce

Key Terms of Reference

  • Monitoring and analyzing the current status of women entrepreneurs.
  • Connecting women traders to global value chain and ensuring the skills development of marginal women traders.
  • Creating an investment
  • Friendly environment for women entrepreneurs and identifying their problems.