The Financial Express

Govt to address time lag for WB funds

Lending for eight projects sought

| Updated: October 19, 2019 11:01:46

Govt to address time lag for WB funds

The government on Thursday requested the World Bank to finance eight projects, promising those to implement in time, officials said.

They said most of the projects are at the take-off stage, pending confirmation of the funds from the global lender.

Officials of the Economic Relations Division, line ministries and the lender sat in Dhaka to make sure the projects get adequately funded.

"We've requested the bank to expedite its financing procedure. The Bank in turn has requested us to speed up the preparatory work of the fresh projects," ERD's additional secretary Md Zahidul Haque told the FE.

The ERD official said they had review the status of five bank-funded ongoing projects and three fresh ones in the pipeline.

Bangladesh needs additional funds for the five ongoing projects including the emergency multi-sector Rohingya crisis response project and safety-net system for the poorest.

Besides, the government has sought funds for new projects, including the health and gender support for Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh private investment and digital enterprise and Dhaka public transport improvement projects.

The government agencies have been awaiting the bank support for their projects for a long as those have struggling for the shortage of funding.

Asked about the bank's fund availability, Mr Haque said the global lender would provide some money from its different windows.

Besides, the bank will finance the development projects from its three-year aid package-IDA 19, which will start from fiscal year (FY) 2020-21.

Meanwhile, the bank's portfolio under its ongoing loan package of US$4.2 billion has nearly dried up as the lender has already confirmed the bulk of its financing for Bangladesh's different projects.

The bank's current package will close in June 2020.

The World Bank is expected to set aside $4.5 billion funds for Bangladesh in its next aid package.

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