2 years ago

‘Bangladesh likely to get $12.0b to $15.0b loan support from ADB over next five years’

Says Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal

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Bangladesh expects to get $12.0 billion to $ 15.0 billion loan support from the Asian Development Bank under its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (2021-2025), according to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

The minister came up with the statement on Tuesday after a bilateral meeting with ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa at the ADB headquarters in Manila as part of the annual meeting of the lending agency, reports BSS.

Kamal said the ADB has helped developing countries including Bangladesh with quick vaccines and expenditure support to make recovery from the economic and health crisis in the Asia and Pacific region.

"The important matter is that the Bangladesh-ADB Country Partnership Strategy (2021-2025) has been prepared in line with Bangladesh's national development and goals, which is expected to provide us with $12.0 billion to $15.0 billion in credit over the next five years," he said.

"ADB's continued support is very important for Bangladesh in achieving our development milestones," Kamal added.

In response, the ADB president praised highly the economic progress and capacity of Bangladesh, said a Finance Ministry press release.

"Building Padma Bridge with own funding is testament to the capabilities of Bangladesh," Asakawa said praising highly the firm leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The ADB President also lauded the steps taken by Bangladesh in tackling the health and socio-economic challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the vaccine operations.

He said from the very beginning ADB has a special focus on Bangladesh while this edition of the Annual Meeting would consider the importance of the issues raised by Bangladesh.

Asakawa mentioned that the ADB has been supporting Bangladesh from the very beginning to ensure social and economic recovery from the pandemic.

He also assured that the lending agency would always stand beside Bangladesh in its needs in future.

Highlighting the capacity and economic attainments of Bangladesh, the Finance Minister noted that Bangladesh needs policy-based lending alongside budget support from the ADB to ensure social and economic goals.

In this regard, Kamal sought special support from the ADB hoping that Bangladesh would maintain close contact with the ADB headquarters.

He said Bangladesh has attained notable progress in all socio-economic indicators under the farsighted and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mentioning that the global community has lauded highly the development of Bangladesh in recent times, the finance minister said that Bangladesh has attained a GDP growth rate of 6.6 per cent on average over the last 13 years.

"But, the COVID-19 pandemic and the current geopolitical condition has worsened the crisis of food, energy, fertiliser, fund scarcity and thus disrupted the global supply chain resulting in rising in worldwide inflation," he added.

Kamal said Bangladesh firmly believes that the ADB would play a much more dynamic role in climate adaptation, mitigation and reducing the risks of disasters to support the helpless people of the Asian and the Pacific region including Bangladesh.

"I believe that in order to face the weaknesses of climate change, soft-term loan support will be a practical method instead of mixed lending support. Besides, the ADB can also provide support in ICT-based entrepreneurship development, agricultural diversification, introducing health, education and agricultural infrastructures giving special attention to the 4th Industrial Revolution," he added.

Putting emphasis on the 50th founding anniversary of the relationship between ADB and Bangladesh to be observed next year, Kamal said that the next year would be a historical milestone for both ADB and Bangladesh.

To mark such an anniversary, the finance minister invited the ADB President to visit Bangladesh on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the people of Bangladesh and thus celebrate such an auspicious moment.

Considering the huge portfolio and firm relationship of Bangladesh with the ADB, Kamal requested the ADB president to recruit top officials especially the vice president from Bangladesh.

Kamal also said currently, the cumulative financing of the ADB in Bangladesh stands at $27.6 billion dollars. "Of which the total outstanding is $11.69 billion. Bangladesh continues to make loan repayments regularly with great capacity."

In its 51 years of journey, Bangladesh has never failed to repay domestic and foreign debts, Kamal said adding that Bangladesh has one of the lowest debt-GDP ratios in the world as it is just 34 per cent.

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