Bangladesh govt to seek $800m a year budgetary support from World Bank and Asian Development Bank

The Daily Star, January 13, 2009. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh will forward a proposal to the donors including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for a budgetary support of around $800 million a year.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday directed the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to prepare a proposal in this regard.

“Since Bangladesh has never failed in paying debt it should get a reward,” he told a meeting with ERD officials, adding that they would prepare a proposal for getting budgetary support equal to the amount the country pays as debt annually.

ERD Secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan apprised the finance minister about the overall foreign aid situation.

Bangladesh last year paid a total of $771 million as principal amount ($585 million) and interest ($185 million).

Muhith said he asked the ERD officials to prepare a proposal specifying the sectors where they want to use the budgetary support.

After the meeting, the finance minister told journalists that the government would try to be included in the Millennium Challenge Account and hoped that it would succeed in doing so.

The ERD secretary told the finance minister that Bangladesh has never failed in paying foreign debts.

Bhuiyan also said the global financial crisis might have a negative impact on the country’s economy but they have not received ‘any indication’ of that from the donors.

He also said the resource gap would be $90 billion in implementing the PRSP in the next three fiscal years including the current one.

The ERD secretary said in the current fiscal year till December 31 last year, 25 project agreements involving $1.75 billion have been signed while 36 project agreements involving $1.27 billion will be signed in the next six months.

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