Foreign aid surges in July
The government has received $368 million as foreign aid in the month of July, which is almost three times the amount that flew in a year earlier.
The development comes as the government set an ambitious foreign aid utilisation target for the fiscal year.
The foreign aid utilisation target for fiscal 2017-18 has been set at $7.6 billion (Tk 60,817 crore), which is more than double the last fiscal year's.
The ambitious target comes as the government feels it has augmented its foreign aid utilisation efficiency sufficiently in the past several years and some individual countries have also made commitments to large projects.
Traditionally, Bangladesh has been getting large sums of assistance from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Japan.
If one-fifth of the aid in the pipeline can be utilised in a year it is assumed that the utilisation is at a satisfactory level, and in recent years the ministries and divisions have almost reached that level.
In fiscal 2008-09, the amount of aid utilisation was less than $2 billion, which crossed the $3-billion mark in fiscal 2013-14. And for the next three years, more than $3 billion was expended in each of them.
For instance, last fiscal year, $3.56 billion was used.
As of January, total foreign aid in the pipeline stood at $36.54 billion, according to planning ministry statistics.
Of the amount, Russia committed nearly $12 billion in the Rooppur nuclear power plant, meaning it would not be too difficult for the ministries to fulfil the ambitious target set for the current fiscal year.
In the aid utilisation plan for the current fiscal year, more than $2 billion has been earmarked for the transport sector, whose live projects include the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit, Karnaphuli tunnel, Dohazari-Cox's Bazar-Gundum rail line and the Padma bridge rail line.
About $1.5 billion of foreign assistance will be utilised for construction of various power plants, including the Matarbari ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant.
Another project is the Rooppur nuclear power plant, where the government plans to use about $1 billion of foreign assistance. China has committed about $5 billion for the Padma rail link project and the Karnaphuli tunnel construction project.