Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The World Bank (WB) has approved a $250 million development policy operation to help the government strengthen its capacity to create more, better-paid and quality jobs in a rapidly changing environment.

The Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit aims at supporting Bangladesh develop a stronger policy and institutional framework to address barriers to creating more and better jobs for citizens, including women, youth and the vulnerable population, according to a WB statement.

Despite Bangladesh’s robust economic growth, the pace of job creation has slowed in recent years, and almost stalled in the readymade garments sector.

The growth rate for jobs fell to 1.8 per cent in 2010-16 from 2.7 percent in 2003-10.

Women, workers in lagging regions, and youth in particular face challenges in accessing quality jobs.

Climate change has exacerbated this jobs challenge, underscoring the need to significantly increase employment in the non-agriculture sector.

“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in accelerating growth and reducing poverty, but the rate of job creation has not kept up with economic growth. Creating more and better jobs is a prerequisite for the country to achieve its vision of upper-middle income status,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

“This will require the economy to create jobs for the 2.2 million youths entering the labor force each year, while attracting more women into the labor market. This program supports reforms to stimulate trade and private sector investment, strengthen social protection for workers and help the vulnerable population access jobs.”

To promote large-scale employment in diverse manufacturing sectors, the reform program will help improve the investment environment, lift barriers to doing business, and modernize customs and trade facilitation.

The program will also help implement amendments to the labor law and reform the pensions program to ensure works are protected.