The Financial Express

Experts stress quick talks with IMF, WB to get virus fund

FE Online Report | Published: March 29, 2020 22:05:49 | Updated: March 30, 2020 15:59:52

Experts stress quick talks with IMF, WB to get virus fund

Experts have urged the government to negotiate fast to get financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to fight COVID-19.

Welcoming the finance minister’s move to request the global lenders to provide US$1.0 billion, they said quick negotiation is a must to get the assistance as early as possible.

In a video conference last week, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal urged the global lenders to stand by Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh needs external financing to mobilise adequate resources to support the economy which is now under threat,” said Dr Mostofa Abid Khan, a member of Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC).

“The government may speed up negotiation with IMF and the World Bank to get funds as soon as possible,” he added while talking to The Financial Express on Sunday.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of IMF, in the first week of this month announced a $50 billion aid package to help fight coronavirus.

In the third week, she also wrote in her blog that IMF is ready to mobilise $1.0 trillion in lending capacity.

IMF has also approved $120.90 million for the Kyrgyz Republic to meet the urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh is expecting to get $750 million from the IMF and $200 million from the WB.

Echoing the tariff commission member’s view, Economist Dr M A Razzaque said the government needs to move quickly to get the financial assistance from IMF, WB and also ADB.

“We need to negotiate fast and release the funds as early as possible as other countries will also seek assistance,” said Dr Razzaque who is now serving as a research director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) in Dhaka.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already granted an emergency fund of US$ 0.30 million to Bangladesh to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Razzaque also stressed on seeking technical assistance from China, South Korea and the United Kingdom (UK) to fight COVID-19.

“Their experiences will definitely help us,” he noted.

In another note Dr Abid said, “As our debt servicing is very good, in this unprecedented period of global crisis, we may also ask the lending agencies to relax the repayment conditions.”



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