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LESSONS:

Road Overlay and Improvement Project in Bangladesh (Loan 1287-BAN[SF])

sector: Transport | country: Bangladesh

Development partner coordination within the transport sector was beneficial. Working together avoided the duplication of efforts in institutional strengthening and policy development, with positive results in road maintenance. Similar coordinated approaches for addressing the remaining issues relating to road maintenance and to road safety and vehicle overloading would also likely prove beneficial.

Greater realism is required in using covenants and how they are worded. Achieving appropriate levels of maintenance funding has always been difficult. A realistic approach would have recognized the problem and, instead of relegating it to a loan covenant, might have established a series of steps toward achieving the desired outcome, in this case, funding of maintenance, so that the government s progression could be monitored and, where applicable, appropriately assisted. All will be difficult for the government to achieve and should not be left to broad loan covenants.

Projects need to first consider the policy framework and political will prior to introducing expensive facilities aimed at creating fundamental change that affects the general public and institutional staff. This derives from the experience with the vehicle inspection centers, applicable to the situation with vehicle overloading, which is commonly addressed by providing weighbridge facilities.

The delays in the preconstruction phase of implementation show that advance action may not prevent such inefficiency from occurring. In the case of the project, hierarchical government bureaucracy and decision-making processes largely negated the advance actions for procurement of consultant services and civil works.

There is a need for detailed and pragmatic review of institutional capabilities when a relatively inexperienced executing agency is to be involved.

Where new technologies and concepts are to be introduced, the amounts of consultant time for staff training and support with initial operations can be substantial and need to be realistically estimated.

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