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The Financial Express

Dhaka urges WB backing for city circular road

| Updated: October 10, 2021 14:14:58


Dhaka urges WB backing for city circular road

Dhaka has requested that the World Bank bankroll its flagship circular road and riverine communication project around the city, officials said on Saturday.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal during a virtual meeting with WB vice-president Hartwig Schafer called for faster fund release against the ongoing projects and expediting the ones in the pipeline.

He also sought extended budgetary support from the Washington-based global lender to recover from the Covid-19 economic shocks, ministry officials said.

Ahead of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank annual meeting from October 11-17, Mr Kamal joined the meeting with Mr Schafer on Friday evening, according to a press statement issued on Saturday.

A senior Economic Relations Division (ERD)

official told the FE that a Bangladesh team, headed by finance minister, would participate in the virtual meeting that kicks off on October 11.

"Since Bangladesh has been affected severely by first and second waves of coronavirus," he says, "our delegation will emphasise getting extended support from the lender in the coming days too."

Another official says since Dhaka city struggles with huge traffic congestion and the four rivers around it are almost unutilised for goods and passenger transportation due to inadequate planning and investments, the minister has sought the WB's support.

"Besides, the WB-funded ongoing and pipeline projects are very important for Bangladesh. Quick fund release is imperative to recover from the losses."

"We earlier sought more budget support. The minister also reminded the WB of expediting the process of the confirmation of the policy loan," the official adds.

Mr Kamal also requested Mr Schafer to act for more concessional loans in both public and private sectors and technology transfer in the coming days.

In reply, the WB veep said he would transmit Bangladesh's plea to the headquarters.

He lauded Bangladesh for being the highest International Development Association (IDA) fund user. Mr Schafer said he would highlight Bangladesh as one of the role models in the world and try to convince donor countries to release more funds for lending.

He also congratulated the government and people for 50th anniversary of the country's independence and the use of IDA funds.

Finance division secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, ERD secretary Fatima Yasmin and WB country director in Bangladesh Mercy Tembon also joined the meeting.

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