Dhaka, Bangladesh
WB to give Bangladesh $6 billion credit in three years

WB to give Bangladesh $6 billion credit in three years

The World Bank has pledged to extend $6 billion in credit to Bangladesh over next three years, reports bdnews24.com. Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed it to the news agency after meeting the global lender’s Vice President for South Asia Region Annette Dixon at its headquarters in Washington DC on Thursday on the sidelines of the Spring Meeting of the World Bank Group - IMF. Muhith told the agency that Dixon said the World Bank would provide the money in three instalments of $2 billion each in every fiscal year from 2017-18 to 2019-20. He said the previous three-year loan package of the World Bank is ending in June. It had pledged to give $4 billion from 2014-15 to 2016-17 financial year, he said. “But we’ve got more.” The finance minister said he told Dixon Bangladesh is starting the new fiscal year in July. “We want to give an ambitious budget again like before. We raised the past eight budgets by 10-11 percent each and we will do so again,” he said. He told the World Bank Vice President the government’s highest priority human resources development. “We will take up many new projects keeping this objective in sight,” Muhith said. He informed Dixon the government is not cutting the allocation for the Annual Development Programme of the current fiscal year. The finance minister said the World Bank also pledged funds, as part of a global programme, to help Bangladesh rehabilitate the refugees from Myanmar. “(But) they did not say how much they will provide,” he added. According to him, the World Bank vice president was happy with Bangladesh’s economic progress. He said following Bangladesh’s unwillingness to take loans from the World Bank for the banking sector, the global lender decided to give the same amount of credit to two other projects. Asked how it reacted to the rejection, he said, “They didn’t say much, neither did we.” Muhith also told the World Bank official that a banking commission would be formed in the next budget. The finance minister has been speaking about constituting the commission since 2014-15 to bring order to the banking sector. “But this time we will surely do it,” he said. The Bangladesh delegation in the IMF and World Bank’s 2017 Annual Spring Meetings also includes Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam, and Alternate Executive Director to the World Bank Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. World Bank President Jim Wong Kim has promised to increase its assistance to Bangladesh in 2017-18 fiscal by 50 percent as part of a larger global initiative. At a press conference of Monday after meeting Finance Minister AMA Muhith, the global lender’s chief said they will also give an extra $1 billion to Bangladesh for tackling malnutrition. Kim, the 50th President of the World Bank, arrived in Dhaka on Sunday evening and met Finance Minister Muhith on Monday morning. The visit is an attempt to celebrate Bangladesh’s success in reducing poverty. The WB has provided International Development Assistance (IDA) loans to Bangladesh in a three-year bundle at a low rate of interest. Under these conditions Bangladesh has received around $28 billion. The global lender has committed to $4 billion in IDA loans to Bangladesh between the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years. $940 million in IDA loans was disbursed in the 2013-2014 fiscal year and $1.16 billion was disbursed in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The total amount disbursed under the IDA loans will be estimated after the loans expire at the end of the current 2016-2017 fiscal year. World Bank officials hope this visit will erase memories of the troublesome episode between the global lender and Bangladesh over the Padma Bridge project. The World Bank had pledged $1.2 billion for the $2.91 billion infrastructure project, but when it raised allegations of corruption, Bangladesh withdrew the funding request and decided to fund the project with its own resources. Nine other World Bank officials, including Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon, Chief Economist Paul Romer and Bangladesh Country Director Qimiao Fan joined President Kim in Monday’s meeting. The finance minister’s team included Finance Secretary Mahbub Ahmed and Economic Relations Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin. The joint press conference was held after the meeting at the finance ministry. “The World Bank is a very important development partner for Bangladesh,” said the finance minister. The World Bank provides support to Bangladesh in all sectors, including communication, said Muhith. The Padma Bridge issue has been resolved and the World Bank’ has provided funds for other projects, he said. The minister said he had great expectations for future cooperative projects with the World Bank. During his remarks, President Kim evaded questions about how and where funds had been diverted from the Padma Bridge project. “We are with Bangladesh. We continue to assist Bangladesh in several areas including climate change, infrastructure development,” said Kim. The WB President said he was visiting Bangladesh on World Poverty Day to celebrate Bangladesh’s success in poverty reduction.

Share |