The Financial Express

Combating virus: ERD seeks project proposals to get fund from WB

SYFUL ISLAM | Published: March 16, 2020 10:38:55 | Updated: March 20, 2020 11:48:27

- Picture used for illustrative purpose - Picture used for illustrative purpose

The Economic Relations Division (ERD) has requested the health ministry to immediately send project proposals to get fund launched by the World Bank to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19).

On March 03, the World Bank announced an immediate support of up to US$12 billion to help countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus which was declared as a pandemic four days back.

A day after the World Bank's fund declaration, officials said, the ERD in a letter to the health ministry said low income group countries will be able to take grant and concessional loans while middle income countries will get IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development) loans from the fund.

"Bangladesh being a lower middle-income country and being under threat of coronavirus spread can get International Development Association (IDA)'s soft loans and also loans from International Finance Corporation (IFC)," said the letter signed by ERD additional secretary Shahabuddin Patwary.

When contacted on Sunday, a senior ERD official told the FE that the World Bank has set aside $100 million for Bangladesh to help tackle COVID-19.

He said Bangladesh needs to put forward project proposals to the lender to get fund.

"Though we have written to the health ministry over 10 days back, we are yet to receive any proposal from there," said the official.

He, however, said the health ministry has asked the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to prepare project proposals.

"I heard the DGHS will soon send us a proposal relating to COVID prevention," he added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some 134 countries/territories have reported cases of coronavirus.

As of March 14, there were some 142,539 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 5,393 deaths.

In Bangladesh, so far five coronavirus patients were detected while hundreds remained in government's quarantine facilities and home quarantine.

The COVID-19 has already affected the country's export-import trade and manufacturing units, with major foreign currency earner apparel sector leaders feared severe impacts.

Like other countries across the globe, Bangladesh has already become disconnected from other parts of the world. A significant number of countries have cut air connectivity and imposed visa sanctions for the time being as part of their efforts to fight coronavirus.


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