The Financial Express

Financing talks with WB VP

Dhaka seeks budgetary support confirmation

Loan worth $1.0b long pledged for funding budget deficit

| Updated: September 20, 2022 16:48:33

Dhaka seeks budgetary support confirmation

Bangladesh government Monday requested early confirmation of a World Bank-pledged loan worth US$1.0 billion for budget support and more funding to navigate economic headwinds blowing from global volatility, officials said.

At a meeting with visiting WB Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser in Dhaka, government high-ups made the request to the global development financier.

Mr Martin, who is newly appointed VP for South Asia Department in the WB, is now in Dhaka for a three-day introductory visit to Bangladesh up to September 21.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Sharifa Khan at the discussion in the ERD on Monday placed the request with the visiting World Bank high official for confirming the budgetary support as the funding was sought a few months back, said one official.

The host side also sought extended financial support as the country is struggling with global economic shocks stemming from war and Covid impacts, the official said.

Bangladesh's finance minister earlier had sought the budget support from the WB when the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic began to be felt on the national economy.

Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Kaikaus also attended the meeting with the Bank vice president.

Another ERD official said: "The Russia-Ukraine war and global economic slowdown affected Bangladesh's economy further. So the budgetary support from the WB is very imperative for the economy."

He adds: "Actually we are trying to have some budgetary support confirmed immediately so that it could be used for cushioning the economic against a slowdown amid global instability."

Also, the ERD secretary requested Mr Martin Raiser to extend the annual support for different projects and programmes.

During his three-day stay here, Raiser will meet Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today (Tuesday) besides other functions.

According to official sources, the newly appointed VP would call on the finance minister and discuss the possible economic cooperation on a larger scale.

The WB executive would also meet private-sector and civil-society representatives, think-tanks and development partners working in Bangladesh on his final day in Dhaka tomorrow (Wednesday).

Mr Raiser, a German national, took over the Vice Presidency of the World Bank on July 1, 2022. Before taking on this role, he had worked as the country director for China, Mongolia, and director of Korea, and as country director for Brazil and Turkey, separately.

The World Bank is the largest development partner of Bangladesh with nearly $1.5 billion worth of assistance confirmed annually over the last few years.

The global financial institution associated with the United Nations and headquartered in Washington has so far committed more than $37 billion in grants and loans to Bangladesh for its infrastructure and socioeconomic development.

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