Bangladesh yesterday signed a $ 150 million financing agreement with the World Bank to modernize infrastructure, systems and procedures related to trade.
The government will establish a national single window, which will allow traders to submit all import, export and transit information required by Customs and other key regulatory agencies via a single electronic portal as part of a project funded by the WB.
"This will facilitate faster and more transparent international trade procedures and reduce transaction time and costs for the private sector," said a statement from the WB.
These improvements will help Bangladesh strengthen regional connectivity and boost trade with India, Bhutan and Nepal, according to the WB.
With the loan, four land ports – Bhomra, Sheola, Ramgarh and Benapole – will be developed and improved as part of Bangladesh's regional connectivity project 1, the statement said.
The World Bank stated that these land ports were essential to facilitate regional and transit trade, particularly with India. These improvements would help Bangladesh increase the volume of trade and goods and reduce the clearance time of trucks at border crossings.
Truck clearing time at Bhomra's land port will be reduced by 83% from 72 hours to 12 hours.
Kazi Shofiqul Azam, secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Qimiao Fan, director of the World Bank for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, signed the agreement to ERD.
The credit comes from the International Development Association, the BM's concessional lending agency. The loan is interest-free and repayable in 38 years, including a six-year grace period, and has a service charge of 0.75%.
"Bangladesh has tremendous potential for developing trade with its neighbors, particularly India, and currently its trade with India is less than half of its current potential." said Fan.
By tackling key trade barriers, particularly transport and customs clearance delays, Bangladesh can become more competitive regionally and globally and reach dynamic and emerging markets with a diverse range of products, including higher value clothing. "19459003
Azam said, "Bangladesh has doubled its market share in global exports between 1995 and 2012, and has more than doubled the value of shipping in the last five years." But the potential is much higher. "
Geographically, Bangladesh can play an important role in regional trade and logistics networks, and as a transit country in South Asia. The project will help Bangladesh take advantage of its strategic location to increase exports and reduce import costs, he said.
The WB said the project would pilot activities to help eliminate the bottlenecks women face in commerce and business.