Seeking loan from foreign lenders not a solution: TIB
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has said that seeking loan from foreign lenders is not a fair, wise or sustainable approach to cope with Rohingya crisis that requires collective international action.
It expressed deep concern about the apparent decision by the government to seek one billion dollars from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to cope with the Rohingya refugee crisis, of which $535 million is in loans, while the remaining $465 million is in grants.
In a statement yesterday, TIB called upon the government to negotiate with WB and ADB to secure grant instead of loan, and urged the international community to ensure fair and equitable sharing of the burdens for this persecution-led humanitarian crisis.
Bangladesh has already done more than its fair share over the years in hosting and supporting over a million Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, mostly in 2017.
Just because Bangladesh opened its borders to host the persecuted Rohingyas, nothing can justify that it will have to endlessly shoulder additional financial burdens.
"It is doubly disturbing that the decision to seek loan comes at a time when Bangladesh has been struggling hard to cope with its own economic challenges," said Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB.
"We urge the government to reconsider this move and to engage in dialogue with the international community to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the costs involved."
"We also call upon the World Bank and the ADB to offer their support as grants, not loans. Supporting Bangladesh's efforts to manage the enormous challenges caused by the Rohingya crisis is an opportunity for organisations like World Bank and ADB to demonstrate that their mission is not limited to indiscriminate loan business."
TIB said it is particularly concerned about the trend of decreasing international grants for the displaced Rohingyas, which it sees as a sign that the international community is cowardly shrugging off their responsibility and leaving Bangladesh to bear the brunt of the burden almost all by itself.
The recent decline in donor support has resulted in a drastic and highly insensitive reduction in per capita food assistance from $12 to $8 per month.
"The global community, particularly countries with multi-dimensional stakes, interests and leverage in Myanmar, must do more to support Bangladesh in addressing the Rohingya refugee crisis," said Dr Iftekharuzzaman.
TIB also called on the UN and its relevant agencies to play a more active role in coordinating the international response to the Rohingya crisis, while addressing the root cases of the crisis.