WB chief wants supports for Rohingyas to come as grants: Muhith

World Bank want to supports for Rohingya Refugees
Rohingya refugees are reflected in rain water along an embankment next to paddy fields after fleeing from Myanmar into Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on November 2, 2017. File Photo: Reuters

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wants that all the supports for the Rohingya people, who were forcibly displaced to Bangladesh from Myanmar, should come in the form of grant, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said here today.

"The World Bank president wants that whatever support Bangladesh will get from the donors should come as grants and for that he has already requested the donors," Muhith told reporters at Hotel Westin in Bali about the outcomes of his engagements at the Annual Meetings 2018 of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Alternate Executive Director of Bangladesh to the World Bank M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Kazi Shofiqul Azam and ERD Additional Secretary Mahmuda Begum were present at the briefing.

About his meeting with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the finance minister said the World Bank chief would make all necessary arrangements so that Bangladesh could get all the supports from the donors as grants for the Rohingyas.

He said the World Bank has been requesting everyone to give grants to Bangladesh to support the forcibly displaced Rohingyas. "They (World Bank) are insisting Kuwait, Sweden, UAE and Germany on giving their supports to Bangladesh as grants."

The finance minister said the World Bank president lauded highly the performance of Bangladesh in poverty reduction as the country is now a model in poverty reduction in the world.

The World Bank president noted that the overall economy of Bangladesh is performing well like the poverty reduction initiatives, he added.

Muhith thanked the World Bank president for coming up with the nearly half a billion US dollar grant support for the Rohingya people.

He informed that the government would invite the concerned officials from UAE, Kuwait, Sweden and Germany to visit Bangladesh and have discussions as these countries have already been requested to provide grant supports to Bangladesh for the Rohingya people.

Asked about the freshly sought $4.5 billion IDA assistance from the World Bank, he said the government has already materialized the earlier committed $4.5 billion amount in just two years under a three-year programme. "We expect that we shall have at least $2 billion support afresh although we have raised a demand of $4.5 billion before the World Bank," he added.

The finance minister said that an estimated amount of $1 billion is being required for the Rohingya people in two years and the development partners, including the World Bank and the ADB, have already announced $680 million in this regard.

About his participation at the Climate Finance Ministerial Meeting, Muhith said Bangladesh is a leader in climate financing and no developed or developing country can claim that leadership.

"We began climate financing from our own budget and we have been continuing to do this for long before the world thought of it," he added.

On his participation at the Development Committee Plenary, he informed that currently some 30 countries in the world are in debt vulnerability while Bangladesh is now much better than most of the countries in the world in this regard.

"We have no debt vulnerability as we are very much concerned in this regard," he added.

About carbon tax, the finance minister said he would look into the matter after returning home. "We have almost stopped emission of carbon like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as we have more or less eliminated CFCs from the country as the refrigerators do not emit CFCs now… emission control is very strong in both public and private sectors in Bangladesh," he added.

Responding to another question on the ongoing US-China trade war, Muhith opined that Bangladesh might not be undisturbed by the US-China trade war. There could be an impact, he said and added: "We do not want the equilibrium to be disturbed."

Earlier in the morning, the finance minister attended the High-Level Breakfast Meeting organized by the Asia and the Pacific Department (APD) of the IMF.

Meanwhile, ERD Senior Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will come up with bidders funding for a new fertilizer factory in Bangladesh.


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