Dhaka likely to get $2.0b in add’l fund under IDA-18

FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: November 24, 2018 10:06:20 | Updated: November 26, 2018 10:25:05

Bangladesh is likely to get nearly US$ 2.0 billion additional assistance from the World Bank (WB), as the latter has decided to divert unutilised funds from other member states to the country, officials said on Friday.

The WB held its International Development Association (IDA)-18 aid package mid-term review meeting in Livingstone, Zambia last week. There, it decided to divert the funds under package to disburse more aid to the countries having higher demand for it. Bangladesh had requested for more funds.

Under IDA-18 package, Bangladesh has already received confirmation from WB to get almost all its earmarked $4.4 billion portfolio, allocated by the global lender for three years up to financial year (FY) 2019-20.

"Bangladesh has already taken almost all the funds from WB's IDA-18 package on the half way. So, we sought $4.0 billion more assistance to meet our demands," Mahmuda Begum, additional secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD), told the FE.

"However, the WB has been able to divert about $2.0 billion funds from some war-torn member countries. We are hopeful of getting almost all the diverted funds, as Bangladesh is the highest performer among the WB member countries."

Since some war-torn countries, like -- Syria and Yemen, have been failing to spend their earmarked portfolio, the global lender has decided to divert the unused assistance to the countries like Bangladesh, which needs such assistance in greater volume, she further said.

A Bangladesh delegation, headed by Ms Mahmuda Begum participated in the IDA-18 mid-term review meeting in Zambia.

Under the ongoing IDA-18 package, the WB has allocated some $72 billion funds for its member countries, to be provided between FY 2017-18 and FY 2019-20.

"We have already signed aid deals worth nearly $4.4 billion with the WB in some one and a half years period. The IDA-18 package still has another one and a half year deadline. So, we need more assistance from the WB for the remaining period to help implement our projects in the pipeline," she added.

In October, the WB signed aid deals amounting to $965 million with Bangladesh against different development works, another ERD official said.

Meanwhile, WB at IDA-18 package review meeting assured Bangladesh of providing $500 million funds for Rohingyas as grant from its refugee funds.

Bangladesh is one of the highest concessional loan receivers from the WB.

In last IDA-17 package, the global lender set aside some $4.36 billion funds for Bangladesh from its total $52.10 billion mobilised concessional loans and grants for disbursing among its member countries between FY 2015 and FY 2017.



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