Bangladesh to seek $1.6b WB assistance
Bangladesh is going to seek $1,623 million assistance from the World Bank (WB) to carry on its reform and development initiatives in the current fiscal year (FY).
Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam, who left Dhaka yesterday to attend the annual meeting of the WB and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, will raise the issue on the sidelines of the meeting scheduled for October 22-23.
Among other members of the Bangladesh team are Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed, ERD Secretary Aminul Islam Bhuiyan and Finance Secretary Dr Mohammad Tareq.
The Economic Relations Division (ERD) sources said the government has prepared a report on the status of WB assistance for different projects, which will be placed before the meeting when the adviser raises the subject.
Although the WB had pledged $1,590 million to Bangladesh for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 Fys, it gave the country only $819 million. Of which, $456 million was provided for 2005-2006 FY and $363 million for 2006-07 FY.
The Bangladesh team will ask the WB for the carry over from last two FYs, which is $771 million, along with WB's commitment for the current FY, which is $852 million.
According to well-placed sources, the WB has already gave a hint of granting $800 million, which, if disbursed, will be highest ever assistance for the country in a single FY.
Of the fund, $200 million will be disbursed as transitional budget support, $100 million as power sector support credit, 100 million as education sector support credit, $75 million as budgetary support for flood rehabilitation, and rest for water procurement and avian flu prevention.
Bangladesh will, however, pursue the WB for more assistance and is hopeful about receiving $1,623 million as the WB seems happy with the reform initiatives including ongoing drives to curb corruption, separation of the judiciary from the executive and boosting up operations at the Chittagong Port, ERD sources said.
A part of the World Bank's allocation for International Development Association (IDA)-14, which is going to end next year, will remain unspent, and Bangladesh is going to ask the WB to reallocate the unspent IDA-14 fund for Bangladesh to help carry on the reform and development initiatives.
In his speech at the WB-IMF annual meeting, the finance adviser will also raise the issue of the developing countries' not receiving the pledged amount of assistance from different forums including the United Nations, which hampers development activities in those countries, sources said.
To succeed in its attempt to get the assistance, Bangladesh will have to take initiatives for reform in different sectors including energy, power and banking, they added.
The Finance Division has prepared a separate report on the government's steps in this regard and the Bangladesh team will brief the WB officials in Washington about it.