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The Financial Express

Finance minister urges World Bank to grant project loans under budget support

| Updated: December 21, 2021 18:11:57


A Bangladesh delegation, led by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, held a meeting with World Bank officials on Sunday at a city hotel. -PID Photo A Bangladesh delegation, led by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, held a meeting with World Bank officials on Sunday at a city hotel. -PID Photo

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has urged the World Bank to extend loans against projects under budget support to ensure speedy implementation of development schemes.

The minister made the call in a meeting between the Bangladesh delegation and the World Bank delegation held on Sunday at a city hotel, reports BSS.

The finance minister led the Bangladesh delegation while World Bank Vice President for the South Asian region Hartwig Schafer led the World Bank delegation.

National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Finance Division Senior Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, Financial Institutions Division Secretary Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah and Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin attended the meeting as members of the Bangladesh delegation.

World Bank country director for Bangladesh Mercy Tembon also attended the meeting on behalf of the World Bank delegation.

The finance minister said in case of availing foreign funding against development projects under the existing tradition, it is often seen that the projects remained not prepared while there is a slow pace in project formulation and implementation.

To overcome this slow pace, Kamal requested the World Bank to extend loans in projects under budget support so that necessary fund is made available for the priority projects of the government and thus the project implementation gets pace.

Referring to his earlier call to the World Bank to undertake a flagship project to make Dhaka as a scenic city and also simplify its communication system, the World Bank vice president assured that there is considerable progress in this regard and hopefully good news will come soon.

The minister also requested the World Bank delegation to speedily release the $500 million budget support against the Programmatic Recovery and Resilience Development Policy Credit (DPC) project to keep operative the affected labour market, financial and social sectors from the shock of the pandemic.

Kamal requested the World Bank delegation to approve loans for Bangladesh in a speedy manner considering the population size of the countryside by side stressed the need for forging stronger cooperation with the lending agency in addressing the existing problems in project implementation.

Highlighting the various socio-economic attainments over the last era, the finance minister said that the base of the country's macroeconomy is now much stronger adding, "Keeping up such macroeconomic stability is rare in the pandemic period,"

He also hoped that the World Bank would continue its support to Bangladesh in various sectors in the coming days.

Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder informed that necessary conditions for availing this $500 million budget support have already been met while the remaining conditions would be fulfilled soon.

ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin sought an additional $2.0 billion from the World Bank from Core IDA under the lending agency's IDA-19 and IDA-20 since

Bangladesh has shown its capacity in project formulation and implementation.

World Bank vice president for the South Asian region Hartwig Schafer lauded the performance of Bangladesh in economic recovery from the pandemic adding that the economy of Bangladesh has performed better than other countries of the world and thus made a turnaround facing the pandemic.

He suggested the government infuse dynamism in project design, processing, approval and implementation process.

Schafer also stressed the need for taking more projects on Climate Change-related Policy Actions and Regional Integration and Cooperation. 

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