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The Financial Express

Dhaka to seek $4.0b more under IDA-18 package

| Updated: November 15, 2018 10:02:36


Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Picture used for illustrative purpose - Collected Picture used for illustrative purpose - Collected

Bangladesh will seek US$4.0 billion more funds from the World Bank (WB) the global lender's replenishment meeting next week in Zambia, officials have said.

Besides, it will request the Washington-based lender to convert the entire $480 million funds for the Rohingya rehabilitation it pledged into grant, they said on Friday.

Government officials said Dhaka will request the bank to extend its support as Bangladesh has already taken out most of the earmarked $4.5 billion package for three years under the IDA (International Development Association)-18 of the bank.

A Bangladesh delegation, headed by Additional Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Mahmuda Begum, will seek more funds as it will participate in the IDA-18 mid-term review meeting.

The review meeting of the IDA-18 replenishment will be held in Lusaka from November 12 to 15.

Under the ongoing IDA-18 package, the World Bank has allocated some $4.5 billion funds for Bangladesh, to be provided between fiscal year 2017-18 and FY 2020.

"Bangladesh has taken out most of the funds from the $4.5 billion package during the last one and a half years. Now we will seek additional $4.0 billion funds to continue the country's development work," said Mahmuda Begum, head of Bangladesh delegation.

"The World Bank has already confirmed some big loans for our development projects. So, we need more investments from the bank," she told the FE.

In October alone, the global lender signed $ 965 million worth of loan deal with Bangladesh to provide those against different development projects, she added.

In December 2016, it mobilised $ 75 billion funds from its donor countries for the IDA-18 package, to be given to the world's poor and developing countries for upgrading their infrastructure and cut poverty.

Ms Begum said, "The World Bank has already confirmed a significant amount of assistance. Besides, some more loans are in the pipeline for the confirmation by the end of this fiscal year. So, additional funds are necessary in the terminal year of the IDA-18 package."

"We will request the bank to extend the amount of aid package for Bangladesh. If it is not possible then we will request it to provide some fund in advance from the next package," she said.

About the WB's pledged $480 million funds for Rohinga, she said it has already assured the authorities of providing five-sixths of the total fund as the grant and the rest as loan.

"But we will request the bank's mid-term review meeting to convert the remaining one-sixth of the fund into the grant," Ms Begum said.

Bangladesh is one of the highest concessional loan recipients of the World Bank.

In the last IDA-17 package, the global lender set aside some $4.36 billion worth of funds for Bangladesh.

The WB's key donors are the OECD nations and some other developed countries including the United Kingdom, USA, France, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Japan.

The WB provides the concessional loans and grants from its soft-lending arm to those countries whose per capita GNI are US$1,215 or less.

The WB is the largest multilateral development partner of Bangladesh, with disbursement of loans averaging $900 million a year. The fund is utilised to develop the country's infrastructure and socio-economic conditions.

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