The Financial Express

Bangladesh to seek higher aid flow from WB

ERD team to join IDA-19 parley on Dec 12-13

| Updated: December 11, 2019 15:36:55

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Reuters file photo Reuters file photo

Bangladesh will request for extended support from the World Bank (WB) in its upcoming three-year aid package for facilitating the country's growing demand for development investment, officials said on Monday.

A Bangladesh delegation from the Economic Relations Division (ERD) will place the request to the global lender at its final International Development Association (IDA)-19 replenishment meeting in Stockholm on Thursday.

The ERD officials said the WB will sit with its donor countries in the Swedish capital for a two-day meeting on December 12-13 to receive the final pledge on their aid, to be disbursed among the borrowing countries across the world.

In the meeting, the WB's donors are expected to confirm their aid packages for its member states for the next three years from fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 to FY 2022-23 under IDA-19, they also said.

The WB's key donors are the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) along with some other developed and developing countries, including the UK, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Japan.

The ERD officials further said Bangladesh will participate at the WB-donor meeting in Stockholm, and will seek enhanced financial support in the coming years than the bank disbursed in the previous years.

Besides, Bangladesh will also share its experiences on the WB fund utilisation and their outcomes, an official told the FE.

The WB Dhaka office spokesperson Mehreen A Mahbub told the FE that the bank's donors will pledge their total aid commitment for the next three-year IDA-19 aid package at the upcoming meeting in Stockholm.

Bangladesh is the largest IDA recipient in the world with its total portfolio amounting to over US$ 12 billion for 46 ongoing projects, she added.

Currently, the global lender is providing concessional assistance to its poor and developing member countries under IDA-18 package.

Under the package, the WB has mobilised $ 75 billion for disbursing among its member countries between FY 2018 and FY 2020.

Bangladesh's total portfolio was fixed at $ 4.2 billion under IDA-18. The country has already received the entire portfolio from the WB in the first two years of the three-year aid package, to end in FY 2020.

Another senior official said Bangladesh needs increased investment for its infrastructure and energy supply development as well as for establishing regional connectivity. So, it will request the WB and the donors to increase the aid package.

The Washington-based global lender has provided $ 2.2 billion worth of aid for Bangladesh in current FY against nine ongoing development projects.

The WB provides concessional loans and grants from its soft-window IDA to the countries, whose per capita Gross National Income (GNI) is $ 1,215 or less.

The IDA-only countries receive the loan at 1.75 per cent rate with a 30-year maturity period. It also provides five years grace period for repaying the loan.

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