The Financial Express

BD seeks $2.5b as budget support, project aid from WB for FY'21

| Updated: August 09, 2020 14:45:36

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
Illustrative photo Illustrative photo

Bangladesh has sought a fund of US$ 2.5 billion from the World Bank (WB) to finance 15 different projects and programmes in the current fiscal year (FY 2020-21), officials said on Saturday.

"We have sought the fund as Bangladesh needs huge investment to reconstruct its infrastructure and economy," an official at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) told the FE.

Besides the project aid, he said, the country also sought budgetary support from the Washington-based lender.

According to the MoF, it requested for at least $ 500 million in budget support and $ 2.0 billion in project aid for implementing different projects this FY.

The WB in the just concluded FY'20 had confirmed $250 million in budget support from its Development Policy Credit Facility to create jobs across the country.

An Economic Relations Division (ERD) official said that they have already submitted request for the fund for the current FY.

"We are hopeful about getting confirmation on most of the funds during this FY," he added.

The ERD official said the WB had already confirmed funding for a couple of projects in July, the first month of the current FY, out of our request for a total of 15 projects.

Few days back, the bank had confirmed $202 million in additional financing for developing modern food storage facilities, he added.

The WB is the largest multilateral development partner of Bangladesh. It usually provides funds for bankrolling different development projects and offset budget deficit in the country.

Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA programme of the WB totaling over $13.5 billion.

The WB has so far made commitment for more than $31 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to Bangladesh since the independence in 1971.

The ERD official said they had sought funding for some projects including $ 500 million for accelerating and strengthening skills for economic transformation, $ 300 million for urban health, nutrition and population project, $ 300 million road safety programme, and $ 200 million for water sanitation and hygiene for human capital development project.

Besides, the government had also requested $ 100 million for Dhaka north neighbourhood upgrading project, $ 130 million for higher education and transformation project, $ 475 million for Dhaka public transport project, and $ 300 million for local government COVID response projects.

"We are hopeful about getting almost all the aids during this FY2021," said another senior ERD official.

He said that since Bangladesh needs huge investment and it had a better track record on amortization of foreign loans, the bank would come forward with its support accordingly.

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