Manila, Philippines (BBN)- Bangladesh is to receive financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help make the delivery of public services more efficient and transparent.

ADB is extending a loan of $25 million equivalent along with an associated technical assistance grant of $800,000 for the Strengthening Governance Management Project, an ADB announcement said on Wednesday.

Using state of the art information and communications technology, the project will introduce online filing of tax returns, digitize land records management in selected districts, and establish 40 specialized tax and land information and service centers for easy access to information.

Bangladesh currently struggles to fund its development needs, with a limited resource base, compounded by low levels of direct taxes. Weak governance hampers the delivery of public services, and poor land records management often causes lengthy court battles, which are a major burden for the poor.

ADB’s loan from its concessional Asian Development Fund makes up 82% of the total project cost of $30.3 million, with the government extending the balance of $5.3 million.

The loan has a 32-year term, including an 8-year grace period, with interest charged at 1.0 percent per annum during the grace period and 1.5 percent per year for the rest of the term. The technical assistance grant comes from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund, with the government providing an additional $180,000.

BBN/SI/AD-22Sept10-3:20 pm (BST)