Japan provided a record amount of foreign aid to Bangladesh last year as the country was Asia's second largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipient, officials said on Saturday.
Official sources said Japan, the largest bilateral development partner of Bangladesh, disbursed Japanese Yen (JPY) 152.5 billion (US$ 1.54 billion) worth of fund in the last Japanese fiscal year (April 2017 to March 2018).
The loan was 223 per cent higher than JPY 47.2 billion ODA, disbursed in the previous fiscal year (FY) 2016 which ended in March 2017, they said.
India was the largest ODA recipient from the Japanese donor agency-Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) -- in the last fiscal year.
"Japan's ODA in the last fiscal was record highest to Bangladesh. Bangladesh has secured second place among the global recipients in terms of total received assistance," said an additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
After getting the record highest amount of ODA in the last fiscal, he said, Bangladesh has also ranked third among the JICA borrowers in the globe in terms of aid amount in the pipeline and execution status.
ERD Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said Japan, for the first time, disbursed highest amount of assistance ($ 1.54 billion) to Bangladesh in the last fiscal year.
Since the government has taken up some mega projects with financial support of JICA, its investment to Bangladesh has reached new heights, he told the FE.
Mr Azam said after getting $ 1.54-billion assistance, Bangladesh has now become the third largest ODA recipients among the JICA borrowers after India and the Philippines in terms of the amount in the pipeline and execution status.
According to JICA, the ODA amount in the pipeline between April 17 and March 2018 to India was JPY 1534.39 billion, followed by the Philippines JPY 557.50 billion and Bangladesh JPY 532.57 billion.
Vietnam and Indonesia were the fourth and fifth largest recipients.
However, JICA's ODA package disbursement to Bangladesh is showing a steep rise over the last six years.
In the Japanese FY 2012, JICA disbursed JPY 33.644 billion, JPY 38.37 billion in FY 2013, JPY 44.16 billion in FY 2014, JPY 60.99 billion in FY 2015, JPY 47.15 billion in FY 2016 and JPY 152.45 billion in FY 2017.
JICA is investing in some larger projects in Bangladesh including MRT (metro-rail) line-6, Matarbari 1200-megawatt ultra-super critical coal-fired power plant, second Kanchpur, second Meghna & second Gumti bridge construction, and Western Bangladesh bridge improvement project.
Currently, the Bangladesh government is implementing 33 development projects with financial support of JICA.
The Japanese donor agency has so far made commitment of providing some JPY 1005.28 billion for the 33 ongoing projects in Bangladesh, official sources said.