Wednesday, April 26, 2017

World Bank to give Bangladesh $6 billion credit in three years

  • Abdur Rahim Harmachi from Washington DC bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-04-21 02:04:31 BdST

bdnews24

The World Bank has pledged to extend $6 billion in credit to Bangladesh over next three years.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed it to bdnews24.com 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 bdnews24.com 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.