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Foreign loans and grants for Bangladesh

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Bangladesh to get $4.2bn from development partners

Bangladesh will get $1.2 billion in the form of grants from the Green Climate Fund, which will be disbursed in the next four years

File Photo: An estimated 745,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017. Photo: TBS
Development partners said they would provide $4.2 billion to the country at the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) held on January 29 and 30, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters at a press briefing on Sunday.

Bangladesh will get $1.2 billion in the form of a grant from the Green Climate Fund, which will be disbursed in the next four years. 

According to the Paris Agreement signed in 2016, the donors are supposed to provide a $100-billion grant to the countries vulnerable to climate change. However, Bangladesh has received very little from the Global Climate Fund, the finance minister said.

During BDF, World Bank Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer met the finance minister at his office and committed to provide a $350-million grant for three projects.

For the Emergency Multi-Sector Rohingya Crisis Response Project, an additional amount of $100 million will be provided not only for Rohingyas but also for the local people of Cox's Bazar district.

Earlier, under the project, the World Bank provided a $165-million grant only for the Rohingya refugees.

"We have sought aid for the local people too as they have been suffering as a result of the Rohingya influx," said Kamal.

"$40 million will be spent for the local community," he said.

The World Bank will provide $150 million for the Health and Gender improvement project for the Rohingya and $100 million for a road safety project.

The World Bank considers road safety a crucial issue to address, the finance minister added. 

Apart from this, an agreement will be signed in June this year with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for eight projects under the 41st official development assistance loan package worth $2.18 billion. 

Additionally, Jica will provide more $2.7 billion in loans for another six projects. Of these, four projects have already been selected, said the finance minister.

"We have learnt many things from the BDF last week and gotten some good suggestions and recommendations. We will include those, which will be helpful for us in the future." 

However, a World Bank official said development partners did not make any financial commitment at the forum.

Future plans for implementing the eighth five-year plan were discussed at BDF. The development partners will later determine how much money they will provide for the development of Bangladesh, the official added. 

The government intends to attract over Tk77 trillion in investments to implement the eighth five-year plan, aimed at increasing the gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 8.51 percent.

The General Economic Division under the Planning Commission is going to set a target to draw Tk19 trillion of the amount from the public sector and over Tk58 trillion from the private sector.

If successfully implemented, the plan would guarantee 10.5 million employment opportunities – 7.5 million in Bangladesh and the remaining 3 million abroad.

The plan would also bring down moderate poverty rate to 12.17 percent by the 2024-25 fiscal year, from the existing 20.5 percent. Extreme poverty is expected to drop to 5.28 percent by the 2024-25 fiscal year from 10.5 percent recorded in FY19.

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ADB approves $250m loan for Bangladesh Economic Recovery Programme

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka | Published: 20:08, Sep 25,2021

The Asian Development Bank on Friday approved a $250 million policy-based loan to support Bangladesh’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the first sub-programme of the programmatic $500 million Sustainable Economic Recovery Programme.

The objective of the Sustainable Economic Recovery Programme is to facilitate a rapid and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, generate employment, and expand economic activities for micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses.

This will be pursued through policy reforms that will create fiscal space to enhance public expenditure and support the recovery and growth of cottage, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, said a press release.

The loan will support the government’s planned public investment in education, health, social protection, and infrastructure and help to stimulate economic activities and economic recovery.

It is also aligned with the core objectives of the country’s Eighth Five-Year Plan and supports the aspiration of Bangladesh to become an upper middle-income country by 2031.

‘The fiscal space created under the program will allow the government to prioritise expenditures and upscale investment in social and economic infrastructure,’ said ADB principal financial management specialist Srinivasan Janardanam.

‘The programme is expected to increase the efficiency in public investment management and create a favourable environment for access to credit, particularly for the poor and vulnerable.’ added Srinivasan.

To promote fiscal sustainability, the program will help the government address two key constraints to public investments in critically needed physical and social infrastructure.

These are – low domestic resource mobilisation and inefficient use of public resources. The programme aims to expand the tax base, improve compliance and strengthen enforcement, rationalize tax exemptions, and modernise tax administration.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also severely impacted micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses in the country.

Enhancing access to credit for CMSMEs will lower borrowing costs, protect this important segment of the economy, support inclusive growth, and absorb the demographic dividend.

The programme will widen access to finance for women entrepreneurs, particularly those running CMSMEs, by introducing or modifying refinancing programmes and credit guarantee schemes with an earmarked portion for women entrepreneurs.

The programme will also encourage more women-led start-ups by earmarking 10 per cent of new start-up financing for them.

ADB’s support coincides with the finalisation of Bangladesh’s Eighth Five-Year Plan and the launch of the new ADB country partnership strategy for Bangladesh, 2021-2025.

The policy-based loan program reaffirms ADB’s commitment to the Bangladesh economy. ADB provided a $500 million countercyclical support facility (pandemic response option) in 2020, towards immediate budgetary support to the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to part-finance incremental health, social and economic expenditures by the government.

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$700 million Korean aid in next five yrs

Economic co-op deal today

 FHM HUMAYAN KABIR |  October 12, 2021 00:00:00

Dhaka is set to strike an economic-cooperation deal with Seoul today (Tuesday) as the latter will provide some $700-million aid in the next five years.

For the first time in its economic ties, South Korea has assured Bangladesh of providing the record-highest assistance between 2021 and 2025, Economic Relations Division (ERD) officials said on Monday.

ERD secretary Fatima Yasmin and Korean ambassador in Dhaka Lee Jang-keun are expected to ink the agreement in Dhaka.

A senior ERD official said the East-Asian country would invest mainly in infrastructure development here.

Seoul has assured Dhaka of supplying adequate funds for building the Kalurghat rail-cum-road bridge on the Karnaphuli river in Chattogram, he added.

It has also proposed to support Dhaka WASA in its water supply development and establishment of training institute, bus procurement for the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation.

South Korea has long ties with Bangladesh as it has emerged one of the key bilateral partners since 1993.

Seoul has so far confirmed $1.33 billion in assistance for Dhaka through its nearly 23 development projects.

Of the Korea-funded schemes, 15 have already been done and the rest are ongoing, official sources said.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University is currently setting up a super-specialised hospital with the support of $277-million Korean soft loan.

The Korean republic usually delivers aid to Bangladesh through its development agency KOICA.

Another ERD official said Korea was gradually increasing its economic support for Bangladesh.

According to the Korean embassy, an estimated 200 Korean companies are operating in Bangladesh, contributing to both the economies.

The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries has reached approximately $1.6 billion.

Under the special arrangement between the two countries, more than 10,000 Bangladeshis are working in Korea under its employment permit system.

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World Bank, ERD sign $300m loan deal

Raising tech knowledge of 0.1m people aimed at

 FE REPORT |  October 19, 2021 00:00:00

The World Bank (WB) would provide US$ 300 million in loans for upskilling technical knowledge of some 0.1 million youths and women in Bangladesh.

With the financial support, four government agencies would work for enhancing technical skills of the Bangladeshi youths under a project - Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET).

The Washington-based lender signed a loan deal in this regard with the Economic Relations Division (ERD) on Monday.

WB Country Director in Bangladesh Mercy Tembon and ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin signed the agreement.

The loan would be repaid in 30 years at an interest rate of 1.25 per cent and a service charge of 0.75 per cent. A five-year grace period would be calculated for the WB credit.

An ERD official said the Directorate of Technical Education would be the key implementing agency, while the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, the Ministry of Industries, and the Medical Education and Family Welfare Division would be the partner agencies in executing the ASSET project.

He also said main object of the project is to create future employment opportunities for the Bangladeshi youths and workers, including women and disadvantaged people.

[email protected]

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Japan has signed a grant agreement of 500 million Japanese Yen (about USD 5 million or Taka 375 million) with Bangladesh for the development of quality primary education. On 25 October 2021, the Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, ERD Secretary and the Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh signed the Grant Agreement and the Exchange of Notes on " the Fourth Primary Education Development Program" (PEDP4). The objective of the Program is to provide quality education to all children in Bangladesh from pre-primary to 5th standard through a primary and equitable education system. It was designed by the Government of Bangladesh in collaboration with development partners including JICA.JICA has also supported the primary education through the “Education Advisor” and “JICA Support Program 3’ for Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education in Primary Education Project (JSP3).”

দেশের মানসম্মত প্রাথমিক শিক্ষার প্রসারে বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে ৫০০ মিলিয়ন ইয়েনের (৫মিলিয়ন ডলার)‘অনুদান চুক্তি’ স্বাক্ষর করেছে জাপান। ২৫ অক্টোবর ২০২১, চতুর্থ প্রাথমিক শিক্ষা উন্নয়ন কর্মসূচি (পিইডিপি-৪) বাস্তবায়নের লক্ষ্যে ‘বিনিময়নোট’ ও ‘অনুদান চুক্তি’ স্বাক্ষর করেন বাংলাদেশে নিয়োজিত জাপানের রাষ্ট্রদূত, বাংলাদেশের অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বিভাগের সচিব এবং জাইকা বাংলাদেশের প্রধান প্রতিনিধি। এই কর্মসূচির লক্ষ্য হলো অন্তর্ভুক্তিমূলক ও ন্যায়সঙ্গত শিক্ষাব্যবস্থার মাধ্যমে প্রাক-প্রাথমিক থেকে পঞ্চম শ্রেণি পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশের সব শিশুর জন্য মানসম্মত শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থা নিশ্চিত করা। জাইকাসহ উন্নয়ন সহযোগীদের সহায়তায় এর রূপরেখা করেছে বাংলাদেশ সরকার। এছাড়াও তৃতীয় প্রাথমিক শিক্ষা সহায়তা প্রকল্পের (তৃতীয় জেএসপি) আওতায় "শিক্ষা উপদেষ্টা" এবং ‘জাইকা সহায়তা কর্মসূচি’র মাধ্যমে গণিত ও বিজ্ঞান বিষয়ে শিক্ষকদের উন্নত প্রশিক্ষণ দিয়ে প্রাথমিক শিক্ষার মান উন্নয়নে সহায়তা দিয়ে আসছে জাইকা।




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Bangladesh to receive $200m from IDA for Covid-stricken informal sector 

 FE ONLINE DESK | Published:  October 27, 2021 18:45:02

Bangladesh will receive $200 million from the International Development Association (IDA), a concessionary lending window of the World Bank, to help create jobs in the country’s Covid-affected informal sector.

The fund will come under an agreement Bangladesh signed with IDA in the capital on Wednesday.

Fatima Yasmin, secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, and Mercy Miyang Tembon, Country Director, World Bank, Dhaka Office, signed the loan agreement on behalf of their respected sides, reports UNB.

The project titled Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE) would be implemented by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) under the supervision of Financial Institutions Division of the finance ministry and the Wage Earners' Welfare Board under the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment.

The project aims at increasing the economic opportunities of the low-income youth community in urban areas and the migrant workers returning from abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the project low income urban youth and the youth micro entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic will be covered by the Economic Inclusion Programme through training, information sharing and providing loan.

The trainees will be provided support in gaining skill through on-the job training, and to get loans for business and entrepreneurship development.

The social and economic integration of the returnee migrants will be achieved through creating micro entrepreneurs and creating linkages with different organisations and financial institutions to help them access and re-integrate in the local labour market, and to re-migrate them in the foreign labour market by achieving specific skill and expertise.

PKSF will spend $150 million while the Wage Earners' Welfare Board spend $50 million to implement the project.

The proposed loan is repayable in 30 years with a grace period of five years.

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S Korea to provide $100 million loan to help Bangladesh’s economic recovery

 Tribune Report

 Published at 05:38 pm November 22nd, 2021

The amount would be released as soon as the loan agreement is signed between the Korea EXIM Bank and the Bangladesh Government which is expected to be done within the year

The government of South Korea has approved $100 million in concessional loan from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to help the recovery of Bangladesh’s economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new concessional loan of $100 million will be used to implement several projects aimed at advancing the public finance management system and improving small and medium-sized businesses struggling from the repercussion of the pandemic.

The amount would be released as soon as the loan agreement is signed between the Korea EXIM Bank and the Bangladesh Government which is expected to be done within the year.

EDCF is Korea’s development financing program for assisting the socio-economic development of developing countries.

The Republic of Korea has already provided $50 million of EDCF loan as budgetary support in December 2020 to help Bangladesh’s efforts for fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the second provision of this type of concessional loan.

It will be the first EDCF loan to be implemented under the new EDCF Framework Agreement for the years 2021 through 2025 which was signed between the two Governments on 24 October 2021, said the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka on Monday.

According to the agreement, the Korean government will provide up to $700 million of concessional loans to the government of Bangladesh for the five year period.

Bangladesh is the second-largest recipient of EDCF loans worldwide in aggregate amount.

So far, the Republic of Korea has funded 24 development projects of Bangladesh with a total amount of $1.2 billion dollars through the EDCF.

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ADB provides $150m for small enterprises to create jobs in Bangladesh

 Tribune Desk

 Published at 05:15 pm November 29th, 2021

The assistance will rejuvenate CMSEs hit hard by the pandemic

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh Sunday signed agreements for $150 million in loan to provide financing for the cottage, micro, and small-sized enterprises (CMSEs) to create jobs for promoting socio-economic recovery after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The assistance under the Supporting Post-Covid-19 Small-Scale Employment Creation Project will rejuvenate CMSEs operated by youth, rural entrepreneurs, returning migrant workers, particularly women, who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Fatima Yasmin, secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Edimon Ginting, country director, ADB, signed the agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively at a ceremony at ERD in Dhaka, according to a press release.

“The assistance will support Government’s efforts to accelerate socioeconomic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Fatima Yasmin.

“This project will reinforce ADB’s long-standing support to Bangladesh in financial inclusion and address key barriers for financing CMSEs by developing a comprehensive action plan that will tackle sector-wide challenges, promote best practices at the banks, and expand training and business development support to the borrowers,” said Edimon Ginting.

“The project will also balance the affordability and availability of loans in addition to adopting innovative approaches so that lower loan interest rates do not disincentivize banks’ lending to CMSEs,” Ginting added.

The loan to Bangladesh Bank, the nation’s central bank, will be on-lent to participating financial institutions (PFIs), which in turn will help 30,000 CMSEs operated by the beneficiaries. 

The project will create at least 45,000 employment opportunities by December 2025 and it has targeted to disburse 20% of the funds to microbusinesses led by women to support their recovery as they have limited access to finance and have severely been affected by the pandemic due to their high concentration in retail, travel, and hospitality sectors.

ADB will provide an additional $900,000 technical assistance grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund for Bangladesh Bank and participating financial institutions to help them strengthen their risk management capacities, business process, and information systems. 

The assistance will also boost their support of CMSEs by incorporating mobile finance, value chain financing, and sustainable financing tackling climate change.

This project builds on the $250 million policy-based Strengthening Social Resilience Program, approved by ADB in June 2021, to strengthen Bangladesh’s social protection programs and resilience of vulnerable groups. 

It also complements the $50 million additional financing to the ongoing Microenterprise Development Project, approved in December 2020, to help restore the economic activities of microenterprises affected by Covid-19 in the country.   

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. 

Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.


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TBS Report

16 December, 2021, 10:50 am

Last modified: 16 December, 2021, 10:58 am

WB announces $93 billion in donations to Bangladesh, other countries


The World Bank today announced a $93 billion replenishment package of the International Development Association (IDA) to help low-income countries, including Bangladesh. 

This fund will help countries respond to the Covid-19 crisis and build a greener, more resilient, and inclusive future.

The financing has brought together $23.5 billion of contributions from 48 high- and middle-income countries with financing raised in the capital markets, repayments, and the World Bank's own contributions, reads a World Bank press release.

The financing package, agreed over a two-day meeting hosted virtually by Japan, is the largest ever mobilized in IDA's 61-year history.

The funds will be delivered to the world's 74 poorest countries under the 20th replenishment (IDA20) program.

In these countries, the ongoing pandemic is worsening poverty, undermining growth, and jeopardizing the prospects of a resilient and inclusive development, added the statement.

Countries are struggling with falling government revenues; increasing debt vulnerabilities; rising risks to fragility, conflict, and instability; and dropping literacy rates. About a third of IDA countries are facing a looming food crisis. 

Due to the urgent development needs of IDA countries, the replenishment was advanced by one year. IDA20 will cover the period of 1 July 2022, to 30 June 2025.

The IDA20 policy architecture builds on the strong foundation of IDA19, with enhancements to make IDA20 even more ambitious and fit for today's challenges.

IDA will also deepen support to countries to better prepare for future crises, including pandemics, financial shocks, and natural hazards.

IDA's unique leveraging model enables it to achieve greater value from donor resources – every $1 that donors contribute to IDA is now leveraged into almost $4 of financial support for the poorest countries, reads the release.

"Today's generous commitment by our partners is a critical step toward supporting poor countries in their efforts to recover from the Covid-19 crisis," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

"We are grateful for the confidence our partners have in IDA as a non-fragmented and efficient platform to tackle development challenges and improve the lives of millions of people around the world", he added.

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বাংলাদেশকে ৮৫০ কোটি টাকা ঋণ দিচ্ছে দ. কোরিয়া

জ্যেষ্ঠ প্রতিবেদক

২১ ডিসেম্বর ২০২১, ০৭:৪৬ পিএম

বাংলাদেশকে ১০ কোটি ডলার ঋণ দিচ্ছে দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া। বাংলাদেশি মুদ্রায় এ অর্থের পরিমাণ ৮৫০ কোটি টাকা (প্রতি ডলার ৮৫ টাকা ধরে)।

মঙ্গলবার (২১ ডিসেম্বর) অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বিভাগের (ইআরডি) সঙ্গে কোয়ার ঋণ চুক্তি স্বাক্ষরিত হয়। ইআরডি থেকে পাঠানো এক সংবাদ বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে এ তথ্য জানানো হয়।

বাংলাদেশ সরকারের পক্ষে অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বিভাগের এশীয় উইংয়ের প্রধান (অতিরিক্ত সচিব) শাহরিয়ার কাদের ছিদ্দিকী এবং দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া সরকারের পক্ষে কোরিয়া এক্সিম ব্যাংকের নির্বাহী পরিচালক কিম তে সো ঋণ চুক্তিতে নিজ নিজ পক্ষে স্বাক্ষর করেন।

সংবাদ বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে জানানো হয়, বাংলাদেশ এবং দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া সরকারের মধ্যে ‘প্রোগ্রাম লোন ফর সাসটেইনেবল ইকোনোমিক রিকভারি সংক্রান্ত ঋণ চুক্তি স্বাক্ষরিত হয়। করোনা মহামারির ফলে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত বাংলাদেশের অর্থনীতি পুনরুদ্ধারে সহায়তা করতে ইকোনমিক ডেভেলপমেন্ট কো-অপারেশন ফান্ড (ইডিসিএফ) থেকে ১০০ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার ঋণ অনুমোদন দিয়েছে দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া।

দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া সরকার কোরিয়া এক্সিম ব্যাংকের মাধ্যমে ১৯৯৩ সাল থেকে বাংলাদেশের আর্থ-সামাজিক ও অবকাঠামো উন্নয়ন এবং তথ্য প্রযুক্তির প্রসারে নমনীয় ঋণ সহায়তা দিয়ে আসছে। ঋণটি নমনীয় প্রকৃতির যার বাৎসরিক সুদের হার মাত্র ০ দশমিক ০৫ শতাংশ এবং ঋণ পরিশোধকাল ১৫ (পনের) বছরের গ্রেস পিরিয়ডসহ মোট ৪০ বছর।

প্রোগ্রামের মাধ্যমে বাংলাদেশ সরকারের ঘাটতি বাজেটের জন্য বৈচিত্র্যময় উৎস সৃষ্টি এবং ইসলামিক ব্যাংকসমূহকে সরকারের ঋণ গ্রহণ কার্যক্রমে অন্তর্ভুক্তিকরণ, ডিজিটালাইজেশনসহ উন্নততর কর ব্যবস্থাপনার মাধ্যমে কর ফাঁকি রোধকরণ এবং ভ্যাট আদায় নিশ্চিতকরণে ব্যবহার করা হবে। কর্মসূচির মাধ্যমে করদাতার সংখ্যা বাড়বে আয়করের পরিমাণ বাড়ানো হবে। এছাড়া দক্ষতা বৃদ্ধির মাধ্যমে উন্নত কর সেবা প্রদান, উইথহোল্ডিং করের জন্য ডিজিটালাইজেশনের মাধ্যমে উন্নত ব্যবস্থাপনা, কোভিডের প্রভাবে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত উদ্যোক্তাদের সহায়তা এবং অর্থনীতির গতি পুনরুদ্ধারে প্রয়োজনীয় কার্যক্রম গ্রহণ করা হবে।

২০২১ থেকে ২০২৫ সাল পর্যন্ত নতুন ইডিসিএফ ফ্রেমওয়ার্ক চুক্তির অধীনে বাস্তবায়িত হওয়া প্রথম ঋণ এটি। গত ২৪ অক্টোবর দুই সরকারের মধ্যে এ চুক্তিটি স্বাক্ষরিত হয়েছিল। এর আগে করোনা মহামারির বিরুদ্ধে লড়াইয়ে ২০২০ সালের ডিসেম্বরে দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া সরকার বাংলাদেশকে বাজেট সহায়তা হিসেবে ৫০ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার ঋণ দিয়েছিল। চুক্তি অনুযায়ী, দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া সরকার ৫ বছরের জন্য বাংলাদেশকে ৭০০ মিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার পর্যন্ত ছাড়ের ঋণ দেবে।

বিশ্বব্যাপী ইডিসিএফ ঋণ প্রাপ্তির দ্বিতীয় বৃহত্তম দেশ বাংলাদেশ। এ পর্যন্ত কোরিয়া প্রজাতন্ত্র বাংলাদেশের ২৪টি উন্নয়ন প্রকল্পে ইডিসিএফের মাধ্যমে অর্থায়ন করেছে। যার মোট পরিমাণ ১ দশমিক ২ বিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলার।

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ADB lends BD $2.6b, pledges $1.96b more

 FE REPORT |  December 23, 2021 00:00:00

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has confirmed US$$2.6 billion and pledged another tranche of $1.96 billion in assistance for Bangladesh to facilitate socioeconomic recovery and bankrolling its development recipe respectively.

A release from the bank said Wednesday that the first amount for the last fiscal year was meant for helping the country's recovery from the Covid-19 shocks. And the second tranche is committed for financing projects and programmes.

A big chunk of the assistance was $500 million in budgetary support, approved in April 2020, within around one month after receiving Bangladesh government's request.

The aid package helps Bangladesh strengthening its public health system, speeding up the country's social and economic recovery by widening social safety-net coverage, providing salary support to workers in export-oriented industries, and extending low-interest loans to affected industries and farmers, the ADB claims.

The coronavirus impact has affected the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth which had fallen sharply to 3.5 per cent in the fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 from 8.2 per cent in FY2019.

Besides, some 5.0 million people lost their full-time jobs in Bangladesh, the International Labour Organization in November 2021 estimated.

The provisional growth rate for FY2021 was also estimated lower at 5.5 per cent against the expected growth of 8.2 per cent.

The ADB in its statement said its assistance for Covid recovery benefited more than 15 million poor and vulnerable people in Bangladesh.

More than 3.8 million workers in export-oriented industries (53 per cent women) received wage subsidies of Tk49.45 billion or $576.3 million, the bank says in its lending statement.

Industries, and micro, small, and midsize enterprises, which were affected during the pandemic, received Tk481.50 billion or $5.6 billion loans, the ADB said.

Around 20,845 doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers received two months' basic pay as honorarium.

"I am happy to note that the ADB was the first development partner to come up with assistance to deal with the immediate challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh," says ADB Country Director in Bangladesh Edimon Ginting.

"It is also heartening that we were able to stand beside Bangladesh when it needed our support the most," he adds.

"I am confident Bangladesh will return to its pre-COVID19 high-economic-growth path soon by successfully implementing its robust economic and fiscal measures to protect the poor and vulnerable, including women, and cushion trade and businesses," Mr Ginting hopes.

Bangladesh has managed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic well so far, through the stimulus and incentive packages and expanded social-protection programmes under a pragmatic policy to support both lives and livelihoods, he noted.

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Bangladesh to receive $27.21m from Japan for two projects

Published:  December 22, 2021 20:58:44 | Updated:  December 25, 2021 10:12:03

The government of Japan will provide an overall amount of $27.21 million to Bangladesh against two projects.

Out of the amount, Japan will provide 462 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to approximately Tk 357.50 million or $4.21 million) for the project titled ‘The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS)’ as a grant for the Year 2021.

Besides, Japan will also provide 2,429 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to approximately Tk 1.94 billion or $23.00 million) for the project titled ‘The Project for the Improvement of Governance and Management Research and Training Facilities’.

In this regard, ‘Exchange of Notes’ and ‘Grant Agreements’ were signed on Wednesday between the government of Bangladesh and the government of Japan, reports BSS.

Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), signed the ‘Exchange of Notes’ and the ‘Grant Agreements’ on behalf of the government of Bangladesh, while Ito Naoki, Ambassador of Japan in Bangladesh signed the ‘Exchange of Notes’ and Yuho Hayakawa, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office, signed the ‘Grant Agreements’ on behalf of the government of Japan.

The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) is being implemented during the period 2001-2025 by the Economic Relations Division.

Under the project, the grant provided by Japan is being utilised for scholarships for BCS Cadre Officers, Bangladesh Judicial Service Officers, and First Class Officers of Bangladesh Bank to study Masters and PhD courses at various universities in Japan.

This scholarship is contributing to developing knowledge and skills acquired through higher education from Japanese universities; moreover, it is helping to develop relations between the two countries.

It is to be noted that earlier Japan has provided 6.8 billion (approximately) Japanese Yen as grant for implementing the project for the period 2001-2020.

The grant to be provided by Japan for 'The Project for the Improvement of Governance and Management Research and Training Facilities' will be utilised for developing physical infrastructure for training and research in BIGM to enhance the physical infrastructure facilities of BIGM, and to establish specialized centers for joint education, training, and research activities on good governance, management and development in Bangladesh and Japan.

The project will be implemented by the Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management (BIGM) under the Ministry of Public Administration. The implementation period of the project is April 2021 to June 2023.

Besides, the Record of Discussions (R/D) of three projects under technical cooperation were also signed today.

These three projects are 'Strengthening Capacity for City Corporations Project', 'The Project for Improving Ground Handling Capacity at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA)', and 'The Project for Capacity Building of Nursing Services Phase 2', which will be implemented by the Local Government Division (LGD), Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, and Medical Education and Family Welfare Division respectively.

Through 'Strengthening Capacity for City Corporations Project' administrative functions in city corporations will be strengthened, which will contribute to improve service delivery of city corporations.

The purpose of the Project for Improving Ground Handling Capacity at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport' is to improve convenience, efficiency, and safety at the HSIA by providing sustainable ground handling services.

On the other hand, through the Project for Capacity Building of Nursing Services Phase 2, the implementation system of nursing education will be strengthened at the targeted public nursing colleges and hospitals.

Japan is the single largest bilateral development partner providing financial support for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.

Till November 2021, the Japanese commitment has exceeded $27.40 billion and disbursement to $16.18 billion. Japanese loans and grants are being utilized in a wide range of areas including power, roads, bridges, telecommunication, agriculture, health, education, water supply and sanitation, rural development, environment, and human resource development.


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বাংলাদেশে দিগন্ত বড় করছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন

বদরুল আলম

জানুয়ারি ১৪, ২০২২


বাংলাদেশে সামাজিক উন্নয়নের নানা খাতে নিজেদের উপস্থিতি বড় করে তুলছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। গত দুই দশকে বাংলাদেশে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রভিত্তিক এ দাতব্য সংস্থার অর্থায়ন পেয়েছে দারিদ্র্য বিমোচন, স্বাস্থ্য ও পুষ্টি, শিক্ষা, আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তি ও নারী উন্নয়নকেন্দ্রিক বিভিন্ন প্রকল্প। তাদের অর্থায়ন পাওয়া সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠানের মধ্যে স্বাস্থ্য খাতে আইসিডিডিআর,বি যেমন রয়েছে, তেমনি শিক্ষা খাতে আছে বাংলাদেশ প্রকৌশল বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় (বুয়েট)। বিশ্বের অন্যতম শীর্ষ ধনকুবেরের হাতে গড়ে ওঠা ফাউন্ডেশনটির তথ্য পর্যালোচনায় দেখা যাচ্ছে, তাদের মাধ্যমে পাওয়া অনুদানে গত দুই দশকে বাংলাদেশের সরকারি-বেসরকারি খাত দেশের সামাজিক উন্নয়নে বড় ভূমিকা রাখছে।

ইতালিভিত্তিক উন্নয়ন জোট পার্টনার্স ইন পপুলেশন অ্যান্ড ডেভেলপমেন্ট (পিপিডি)। জোটটির ১০ প্রতিষ্ঠাতা সদস্যের অন্যতম বাংলাদেশ। পিপিডির মাধ্যমে ২০০০ সালে বাংলাদেশের কোনো প্রকল্পে প্রথম অর্থায়ন করে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। ৩০ লাখ ডলারের প্রকল্পটি ছিল মূলত পরিবার পরিকল্পনা কার্যক্রমকে ঘিরে।

পিপিডির পর একে একে দেশের বহু সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠান অনুদান পেয়েছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন থেকে। এসব সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠানের মধ্যে সবচেয়ে বেশি অনুদান পেয়েছে আন্তর্জাতিক উদরাময় গবেষণা কেন্দ্র, বাংলাদেশ (আইসিডিডিআর,বি)। গত দুই দশকে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন থেকে বাংলাদেশে আসা অনুদানের পরিমাণ ১৯ কোটি ডলারের কিছু বেশি, যার সিংহভাগই পেয়েছে আইসিডিডিআর,বি।


উন্নয়ন জোট ও স্বাস্থ্য গবেষণা সংস্থার পাশাপাশি বাংলাদেশের ব্যক্তি খাতের প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোও বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন থেকে পাওয়া অনুদানের অর্থ বাংলাদেশে উন্নয়নমূলক কার্যক্রমে ব্যয় করছে। এসব সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠানের মধ্যে আছে বেসরকারি গবেষণা প্রতিষ্ঠান পলিসি রিসার্চ ইনস্টিটিউট (পিআরআই), সেন্টার ফর পলিসি ডায়ালগ (সিপিডি), উদ্যোক্তা উন্নয়ন প্রকল্প ইনোভেশন ডিজাইন অ্যান্ড অন্ট্রাপ্রেনিউরশিপ একাডেমি (আইডিইএ)। আরো আছে ব্যাংক এশিয়া লিমিটেড, ওষুধ খাতের প্রতিষ্ঠান ইনসেপ্টা ফার্মাসিউটিক্যালস লিমিটেড।

পিআরআইয়ের নির্বাহী পরিচালক ড. আহসান এইচ মনসুর বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের সঙ্গে পিআরআইয়ের সহযোগিতা বাংলাদেশে মোবাইল ফাইন্যান্সিয়াল সার্ভিসের প্রচারণার ক্ষেত্রে। বিশ্বব্যাপী সংস্থাটি ক্ষুধা, পরিবেশ ও জলবায়ু এবং আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তি নিয়ে কাজ করে। অতিসম্প্রতি তারা টিকাদান কর্মসূচিতেও কাজ করছে। তারা কিছু বিনিয়োগ করছে বাংলাদেশে। কার্যক্রমটি গুরুত্বপূর্ণ, কারণ ভেঞ্চার ক্যাপিটাল এখন বাংলাদেশের মতো দেশগুলোর জন্য খুব প্রয়োজন।

বাংলাদেশে বেসরকারি ব্যাংক খাতে প্রথম যে ব্যাংকটির সঙ্গে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন যুক্ত হয়েছে সেটি হলো ব্যাংক এশিয়া লিমিটেড। ব্যাংকটির জন্য বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন প্রতিশ্রুত অনুদানের পরিমাণ ১১ লাখ ১ হাজার ৩৭৭ ডলার। জানতে চাইলে ব্যাংক এশিয়া লিমিটেডের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক মো. আরফান আলী বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, ব্যাংক এশিয়া বাংলাদেশের প্রথম ব্যাংক, যাদের সঙ্গে কাজ করছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। নারীকেন্দ্রিক উন্নয়নকে গুরুত্ব দিয়ে সংস্থাটি আমাদের ব্যাংকের সঙ্গে কাজ করছে। নারীর অংশগ্রহণের মাধ্যমে আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তি নিশ্চিত করার লক্ষ্যে সংস্থাটির সঙ্গে আমাদের কাজ চলছে।

বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের অর্থায়ন পেয়েছে, দেশের এমন সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর মধ্যে আরো রয়েছে সাজেদা ফাউন্ডেশন, মানুষের জন্য ফাউন্ডেশন, নারী ও শিশু স্বাস্থ্য কেন্দ্র (সিডব্লিউসিএইচ), জাতিসংঘ উন্নয়ন কর্মসূচি (ইউএনডিপি) বাংলাদেশ, নর্থ সাউথ ইউনিভার্সিটি, চাইল্ড হেলথ রিসার্চ ফাউন্ডেশন, বাংলাদেশ ইউনিভার্সিটি অব ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং অ্যান্ড টেকনোলজি (বুয়েট), ব্র্যাক ইউনিভার্সিটি, বাংলাদেশ ধান গবেষণা ইনস্টিটিউট (ব্রি), ডেভকনসালট্যান্টস লিমিটেড (ডেভকন), শপ ফ্রন্ট লিমিটেড, ইনারগায়া লিমিটেড বাংলাদেশ, মমদা ফাউন্ডেশন ও বিকাশ লিমিটেড।

গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের অনুদান পাওয়া সংস্থা ও প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলো জানিয়েছে, গত এক দশকে বাংলাদেশে ফাউন্ডেশনটির কৌশলে অনেক পরিবর্তন হয়েছে। শুরুতে মনোনিবেশ ছিল জনস্বাস্থ্যকেন্দ্রিক। তখন পুষ্টির বিষয়টিকে গুরুত্ব দিয়ে কাজ করেছে ফাউন্ডেশন। এখন গবেষণা, নারীকেন্দ্রিক আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তি, মোবাইল ফাইন্যান্সিয়াল সার্ভিসের মতো আরো নানা ক্ষেত্রে নিজেদের দিগন্ত বিস্তৃত করেছে তারা।

জানতে চাইলে ব্র্যাকের নির্বাহী পরিচালক আসিফ সালেহ বণিক বার্তাকে বলেন, আমি যোগ দেয়ার আগেই ব্র্যাকের সঙ্গে কাজ শুরু হয় বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের। শুরুতে শৈশবকাল থেকে শিশুদের পুষ্টিতে যেন কোনো সমস্যা না হয়, সে বিষয়টি নিয়ে কাজ করছিল ফাউন্ডেশনটি। আরেকটি বড় ফোকাসের জায়গা ছিল কমিউনিটি ল্যাট্রিন স্থাপন করা, যা বাস্তবায়নে দেশের ২৪৮টি উপজেলায় আমরা কাজ করেছি। পরবর্তী সময়ে তাদের ফোকাস যায় আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তির দিকে। সে সময় থেকে তারা ক্যাশলেস সোসাইটি তৈরিসহ এতে নারীদের সম্পৃক্ত করার বিষয়ে কাজ শুরু করে।

আর্থিক অন্তর্ভুক্তি ব্যাপকভাবে ছড়িয়ে দেয়ার ক্ষেত্রে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন গত পাঁচ বছর ব্র্যাকের সঙ্গে যুক্ত রয়েছে উল্লেখ করে আসিফ সালেহ বলেন, এখন বিশেষ করে পিছিয়ে থাকা জনগোষ্ঠীর মধ্যে ডিজিটাল সাক্ষরতা তৈরির বিষয়ে কাজ হচ্ছে। এতে নারীর অংশগ্রহণও গুরুত্ব পাচ্ছে। পাশাপাশি লিঙ্গবৈষম্য কমিয়ে আনতে ব্র্যাককে সহযোগিতা করছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। অংশীদারিত্বের ক্ষেত্রে বিকাশের প্রারম্ভিক পর্যায়ের বিনিয়োগকারী হিসেবেও ভূমিকা রয়েছে তাদের।

মাইক্রোসফট প্রতিষ্ঠাতা বিল গেটস ও তার সাবেক স্ত্রী মেলিন্ডা গেটসের যৌথ উদ্যোগে গড়ে উঠেছে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের ওয়াশিংটনের সিয়াটলে ২০০০ সালে কার্যক্রম শুরু করে বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন। গেটস লার্নিং ফাউন্ডেশনের সঙ্গে উইলিয়াম এইচ গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন একীভূত করে এটি প্রতিষ্ঠা করা হয়। প্রতিষ্ঠার পর থেকে এখন পর্যন্ত ৫৩ দশমিক ৮ বিলিয়ন ডলার জনহিতকর নানা কার্যক্রমে ব্যয় করেছে এ ফাউন্ডেশন।

দারিদ্র্য বিমোচনই ছিল বিল অ্যান্ড মেলিন্ডা গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের মূল উদ্দেশ্য। প্রতিষ্ঠার সময় বিভিন্ন বেসরকারি উন্নয়ন সংস্থা (এনজিও) তাদের সঙ্গে কাজ করেছিল। ম্যালেরিয়া ও এইডসের মতো প্রাণঘাতী সংক্রামক রোগ দূর করতে সহযোগিতাও করে এসব সংস্থা। গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনের অন্যতম আর্থিক সহযোগী গ্যাভি-দ্য ভ্যাকসিন অ্যালায়েন্স ২০০০ সালে গরিব দেশগুলোয় টিকা সুবিধা সহজে পাওয়ার ব্যবস্থা করে। সে সময় ফাউন্ডেশনের পক্ষ থেকে ৪০০ কোটি ডলার দেয়া হয়, যা এখন করোনা টিকা নিয়ে কাজ করে যাচ্ছে।

এছাড়া দরিদ্র দেশগুলোয় স্যানিটেশন উন্নত করাও ফাউন্ডেশনের অন্যতম লক্ষ্য। সংস্থাটির ওয়েবসাইট থেকে জানা যায়, গেটস দম্পতি ১৯৯৪ থেকে ২০১৮ সাল পর্যন্ত নিজেদের সম্পদ থেকে ৩ হাজার ৬০০ কোটি ডলার দান করেছেন। আরেক ধনকুবের ওয়ারেন বাফেট ২০০৬ সালে গেটস ফাউন্ডেশনকে ‘গিভিং প্লেজ’ ক্যাম্পেইনে ৩ হাজার কোটি ডলার দিয়েছিলেন। গেটস ফাউন্ডেশন মূলত প্রভাবক হিসেবে কাজ করে। ২০১৮ সালে তারা বিশ্ব স্বাস্থ্য সংস্থায় সবচেয়ে বেশি অনুদান দিয়েছিলেন। চলমান করোনা মহামারীতে স্বাস্থ্য খাতেও বিল গেটস ভূমিকা রাখছেন।

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World Bank to push limping projects

 FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | Published:  January 25, 2022 10:17:38 | Updated:  January 25, 2022 17:25:22


Negotiators are doing hectic homework as the World Bank sits shortly with government side to clear bottlenecks to slow-going projects it has financed in Bangladesh, sources say.

A number of the World Bank-funded projects, worth US$2.80 billion, turned "problematic" and "slow-going" for a slew of reasons, insiders said Monday.

Ahead of the reappraisal meeting, the government agencies concerned are going to sit tomorrow (Wednesday) to get armed with preparations to face the WB evaluation, they said.

The Washington-based lender is learnt to be unhappy with the dreary progress on at least 10 development projects bankrolled by it in Bangladesh as those are performing bleak over the years, they added.

"Some ongoing projects have been selected as slow-moving and problematic. The Bank will sit for a tripartite review meeting next week to find ways of their acceleration," says a senior Ministry of Finance (MoF) official.

Some other WB-funded projects which also have different types of problems would also be discussed at the review meeting, he adds.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) will arrange the virtual meeting, scheduled for January 30-31, which WB executives and project directors will attend.

A senior ERD official said they would sit for an inter-ministerial meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) before going to sit for reviewing the problematic and slow-moving projects.

"We will work out the ways of overcoming the complexities on way to implementation of the development projects," he adds.

"If there is heedlessness of the implementing agencies, we'll look into the matter at the tripartite meeting. Similarly, if there are any problems from the donor side, we will also try to tackle the issues," the ERD official further says.

Another ERD official says: "We will sit for reviewing the slow-moving projects. The meeting will discuss possible solutions to the hurdles standing in the way of implementing these projects."

He adds: "We've selected some projects whose progress is rather slow although funding from the WB (for those) has already been confirmed. So, we need to streamline the projects."

The projects include $202 million-funded Modern Food Storage Facility Project (MFSFP), $500 million Livestock and Dairy Development Project, $360 million Bangladesh Water Transport project 1 (inland waterways), $217 million Ghorasal-4 repowering project, $356.70 million Bangladesh investment promotion and financing facility project-II, $700 million Quality learning for all programmes, $150 million health and gender-supported project for Cox's Bazaar, $100 million safety-net system for the poorest, $150 million Bangladesh regional connectivity and $65 million Bangladesh insurance-sector development project.

According to WB and ERD officials, the 10 projects are on the weak trajectory in terms of implementation despite WB's approval given several years ago.

Among the projects, the Modern Food Storage Facility Project was approved by the WB board in December 2013. But it had been a very slow-moving project since then, whose closing date was extended up to April 2022.

The Livestock and Dairy Development Project, which got the go-ahead in December 2018, has also been on the slow lane.

Similarly, execution of many of those projects was being affected due to multiple hurdles, the ERD officials also said.

"We are hopeful of finding out some solutions and certain action plans for implementing the projects in the remaining period of their respective tenure," he adds.

Currently, WB's development-financing portfolio in Bangladesh consists of more than 50 projects with a commitment of some $15 billion in loans and grants.

In the last fiscal year, 2020-21, the agency made a commitment to provide nearly $2.12 billion worth of assistance to Bangladesh.

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Saifuddin Saif

26 January, 2022, 10:25 pm

Last modified: 27 January, 2022, 11:36 am

Foreign aid release, commitment surge in H1 of FY22

ERD officials have attributed the increased foreign aid receipts and aid commitments to post-Covid changes in aid priorities



Bangladesh witnessed marked jumps in both foreign aid disbursal and commitments for new loans and grants in the first six months of the current 2021-22 fiscal year, mainly riding on Covid-related budget assistance and loans for purchasing vaccines.

The country received 83% higher aid commitments year-on-year in the July-December period of FY22, while the amount of assistance released by the development partners in the period was $1.2 billion higher compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Economic Relations Division's latest data.

The ERD data show the development partners pledged $4.4 billion in grants and loans in the July-December period of the current fiscal year, which was $2.4 billion in the same period last fiscal year. During this period, they released $4.2 billion worth of assistance.

ERD officials have attributed the increased foreign aid receipts and aid commitments to post-Covid changes in aid priorities.

Loans given for development projects are released on the basis of project implementation – if the implementation rate is fast, money is also released fast, they said, adding loans for buying vaccines and Covid-related budget assistance, however, are released within a few days after an agreement is signed or commitment is given.

The development partners have released more than $1.5 billion in Covid budget support and loans for buying vaccines in the first half of this fiscal year, they added.

Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute (PRI), said the government now needs money as revenue collection is slow because of the pandemic. This is why the government is taking more and more budget assistance, and the development partners do not take much time to release budget support, he maintained.

He also pointed out that receipts of project assistance are not growing that much.

ERD officials said various ministries and divisions have thus far spent only 37% of the foreign aid allocation on various development projects in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the current financial year.

The amount of foreign aid allocation in this year's ADP is Tk88,024 crore. Because the pace of implementation is slow, the ministries and divisions have proposed to reduce the allocation of foreign aid by Tk17,774 crore in the revised ADP, the officials added.

In the first six months of the financial year, the ADB released the highest amount of aid for Bangladesh. The Manila-based development partner freed more than $1.5 billion during the period.

Japan disbursed the second highest amount of foreign aid – $817 million – during the period, followed by the World Bank, and China.

On the other hand, the highest aid commitments were received from China. After a long wait, the government has signed a loan agreement with the country for the Dhaka-Ashulia Expressway project. China has pledged $1.1 billion in aid for this project.

The second highest aid commitments, to the tune of $819 million, were received from the Asian Development Bank, followed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with $515 million and the World Bank with $500 million.

Meanwhile, the rate of loan repayment by the government also saw an increase during the first six months of the current financial year. During the period, the government paid the development partners $1 billion in principle and interest on loans. The volume of repayment was 900 million in July-December last year.

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Bangladesh bags highest $6.79 billion foreign aid in nine months

Jul-Mar debt servicing also swelled to $1.59b

 FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | Published:  April 24, 2022 08:02:08 | Updated:  April 27, 2022 09:04:13



Bangladesh received a record $6.79 billion in foreign aid in the first three quarters of the current financial year, up 55 per cent from last fiscal's, officials say.

In the past fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, external development partners released $4.38 billion worth of assistance during the July-March period.

The increased concessional-aid inflow comprised the record- highest fund disbursement by the Asian Development Bank and the Japan government, Economic Relations Division (ERD) officials said Saturday.

Out of the total amount of $6.79 billion, according to ERD data, the ADB alone supplied $1.91 billion and Japan $1.57 billion.

Besides, the largest multilateral development partner-the World Bank-also disbursed $834.55 million while Russia $971 million during the period under consideration.

The partners also confirmed a significant amount of medium- to long-term loans and grants by signing deals worth $5.43 billion.

A senior ERD official said aid supply swelled for impressive funds from the second-largest multilateral partner, ADB, the largest bilateral donor, Japan, and some other donors in the first quarter.

"We are expecting more than $9.0 billion of total foreign assistance at the end of FY 2021-22," he added.

Out of the aid disbursed so far in the current fiscal, Dhaka received $6.61 billion in loans and $180.81 million in grants.

The external development financiers made a commitment for $5.43 billion in the first nine months of FY22, up $1.42 billion from the same period in FY21.

Of the commitment, they confirmed $5.26 billion in loans and $166.37 million in grants.

Bangladesh's debt servicing swelled during the July-March period as the country paid $1.59 billion.

Out of the repayment sum, $1.18 billion has been paid as principal amount and $411.65 million as interest for the outstanding loans.

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TBS Report

01 May, 2022, 10:50 am

Last modified: 01 May, 2022, 10:57 am

Bangladesh signs $200m loan agreement with AIIB


The Government of Bangladesh signed a loan agreement of $200 million with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on 26 April 2022 to implement the "IDCOL Multi-Sector On-Lending Facility Project".

Economic Relations Division Additional Secretary Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky and AIIB Investment Operations Director General Dong Ik lee signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and AIIB respectively, said a press release.

The objective of the project is to promote infrastructure investment by providing long-term financing to the private sector in Bangladesh.

It is aligned with Bangladesh's goal to bridge its infrastructure deficit and achieve sustainable growth, as highlighted in Bangladesh's Perspective Plan 2021-2041.

The project will be financed by a loan to Bangladesh, which will be on-lent to Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd (IDCOL). IDCOL will further on-lend the amount to private-owned companies (sub borrowers) in Bangladesh to support eligible infrastructure projects, the press release added.

The project will provide IDCOL with additional resources for long-term financing, given the huge market requirement and the need to scale up the availability of long-term financing for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.

The loan will be received in standard terms and conditions of AIIB. The repayment period of the loan is 18 years including 5 years grace period. Payable front end is fee is 0.25% and commitment fee is 0.25% per annum for unwithdrawn amount.

Rate of interest of the loan will be 0.60% + the borrowing cost margin (variable) of AIIB.

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Saifuddin Saif

23 June, 2022, 06:10 pm

Last modified: 23 June, 2022, 09:07 pm

Foreign aid crosses record $8 billion in May



Bangladesh has registered a 47% jump in disbursements of foreign assistance that have surpassed the $8 billion mark in 11 months of the current fiscal year for the first time.

In July-May, development partners released $8.42 billion in contrast to $5.72 billion in the same time a year ago, according to the latest report of the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

The government expects that the amount will reach $9 billion after the end of FY22.

ERD officials put such a record foreign fund release down to increased use of external loans in some megaprojects that are nearing completion, more budget support provided by different development partners and funds for purchasing Covid-19 vaccines.

The foreign assistance disbursal will continue to grow after the end of June as the government has a target to use $10.8 billion in the current fiscal year, they said. 

The foreign fund disbursements amounted to $7.95 billion in FY21 and $7.38 billion in FY20. The external assistance release always remained below $7 billion in all the previous years, according to the ERD.

ERD officials said last week they signed a deal with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a budget support of $250 million. Such a fund gets released shortly after the agreement is signed.

Moreover, large sums of foreign loans will be spent on several development projects, which will bring the foreign aid disbursements closer to the target, they added.

In the meantime, according to the ADP progress report as of May by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), the use of foreign loans for development projects is on the rise towards the end of the current fiscal year, with Tk9230 crore spent in May alone.

The IMED expects that the same amount or more of foreign loans will be spent on various development projects in June.
The utilisation of foreign aid stood at Tk50,575 crore during July-May, up from Tk39,498 crore during the same period last fiscal year, according to data from the IMED.

ERD officials said $1.14 billion in budget support and $956 million for vaccine purchases were released as of May this fiscal year. 

The funds came from the World Bank, ADB, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Jica, Korea and the OPEC Fund for International Development.

Ahsan H Mansur, executive director at the Policy Research Institute, told The Business Standard that the government is getting Covid-related budget support and loans for purchasing Covid-19 vaccines, which contributed to the overall rise in foreign aid disbursements.

But excluding such funds, the foreign aid for development projects have not increased much. A large part of the foreign aid has remained stuck in the pipeline as ministries and divisions cannot spend such loans at an expected pace, he noted. 

According to the ERD, foreign aid in the pipeline stood at $47 47.84 billion as of May of the current fiscal year.

Meanwhile, in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, ADB has released the most funds. The country received $2.07 billion from this development partner as of May. The government expects to receive $2.45 billion from it by June.

Some $2.37 billion of loans from Japan are being used in the current fiscal year. The disbursement as of May stood at $1.77 billion, while the disbursal from the World Bank amounted to $1.53 billion against the target of $1.63 billion.

Besides, the fund release from Russia stood at $1.15 billion in July-May of the current fiscal year.

According to the ERD report, loan commitments from development partners have also increased slightly to $5.9 billion in the 11 months, up from $5.36 billion in the same time a year ago.

The World Bank, ADB and China have made commitments of over $1 billion each. 

In the meantime, the government's loan repayments also increased till May of the current fiscal year. In the 11 months, payments of interest plus principal stood at $1.88 billion, which was $1.7 billion during the same period last fiscal year.

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Abul Kashem & Jahidul Islam

27 June, 2022, 10:55 pm

Last modified: 27 June, 2022, 11:06 pm

World Bank to give Bangladesh $18b IDA loans in next five years


Inflows of foreign assistance will continue to go up, with Bangladesh receiving $18 billion from the World Bank's soft loan window International Development Association (IDA) alone in the next five years.

The Washington-based lender will provide the country with fresh loans amounting to $10 billion – $2 billion a year – during the time and will also release $8.24 billion in the pipeline, according to a draft of the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) programme for FY23-FY27.

Moreover, its sister organisation International Finance Corporation (IFC) will finance $4.5 billion for the private sector development, while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will give guarantees of $695 million a year for external loans in energy and manufacturing sectors.

The World Bank has already sought opinions from government and private levels on the proposed Country Partnership Framework, which will replace the existing Country Assistance Strategy, to operate its lending activities in Bangladesh up to 2027 starting from the next fiscal year.

The development lender is expected to meet with representatives of government ministries and agencies on 6 July to finalise the framework.

Bangladesh got $11.83 billion during FY16-FY22 – $1.67 billion per fiscal year on average – from the IDA under the Country Assistance Strategy, the most important country-level document tailored to guide the World Bank Group's support to a member country as per the needs.

The loan tenure was initially up to FY20 and later was extended to FY22 because of Covid-19.

In FY11-FY15, the IDA provided the country with $6.1 billion in soft loans, $1.22 billion a year.

Bangladesh is also getting commitments for additional loan support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and other multilateral lenders.

For example, the ADB, which earlier committed $10-$12 billion as per its Country Partnership Strategy approved in September last year, has now pledged to raise the loan amount by $2.37 billion in a recent meeting with the Economic Relations Division.

Besides, the AIIB has made a proposal of $1.51 billion fresh loans for five projects.

Economists say the use of foreign aid will appear as a major catalyst in the future to continue the implementation of development projects by tackling the budget deficit.

They also say there is still ample scope for getting foreign assistance in education, health and social infrastructure sectors.

They have urged expediting the formulation and implementation of projects, and having all external loans released as fast as possible.

The government has estimated 7.5% growth in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, but the World Bank projected it at 6.8% because of rising domestic consumption and weakening exports.

As a IDA GAP country, preparation will be initiated under the new Country Partnership Framework for Bangladesh to compulsorily take non-concessional loans from the World Bank's International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, according to the draft framework.

The proposed Country Partnership Framework has three high-level outcomes, such as increased private sector jobs, improved socioeconomic inclusion and enhanced climate resilience.

Zahid Hussain, former lead economist at the World Bank's Dhaka office, told The Business Standard that the number of quality jobs in the private sector is very low. Most people are engaged in the informal sector where there is no job security and they do not get termination or retirement benefits.

The new framework suggests increasing jobs in the sector, but it has not set the goal of bringing informal sector workers to the formal sector in the high-level outcome, he said.

In the draft CPF, there should have been an idea about how many new jobs will be created for women, the economist said.

Commenting that the release of foreign aid will play a big role in keeping the economy afloat in the future, Zahid Hussain said it takes a long time in various stages before a project gets approved. After the project approval, appointment of a project director and project management team, and finalisation of a project office also take a lot of time before the project reaches the implementation readiness stage.

Without much reform in public administration, foreign fund disbursements cannot be increased based on conventional investment project financing, he also said, adding that target-based programme-for-results financing should be increased alongside input-based lending instruments.

The share of foreign aid in the Annual Development Programme has been declining over the past few years. The cuts in the revised ADP are parts of external loans. Based on this information, it is easy to say that the ability to spend foreign assistance is not going up, the economist added.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said, "We have to work on increasing the release of foreign aid to prepare for the challenges that will arise out of the LDC graduation. And we have to do it by speeding up project implementation."

The economist thinks that more powerful steps with respect to political economy, good governance, implementation capacity and institutional efficiency need to be taken for this purpose.

Both concessional and non-concessional loans are now available for Bangladesh, as a GAP country. But there will be no option for concessional loans in the future.

So, he suggests that Bangladesh prepare for that.

Kamruzzaman Kamal, director at Pran Group, told TBS that it was good news that the IFC had set a target of lending $900 million annually to the private sector in Bangladesh as local banks cannot give them large sums.

The IFC offers a big loan at much lower rates than those of banks and it helped the agro-processing sector a lot with credit support, he noted, adding that the biggest advantage of IFC loans is that they not only lend, but also work to ensure the overall development and compliance of the borrower organisations.

Risks to implementing CPF programme

The global lender has identified a number of challenges, such as not much expansion of the private sector and a lack of expected pace in employment, to utilising foreign aid, but it thinks that the overall socio-economic risk in the country has reduced.

According to the World Bank, Bangladesh was claimed to have been at high risk in the Country Assistance Strategy for FY2016-FY20. The country has come down to a moderate risk with two steps down in the proposed framework.

For instance, the country now is at moderate risk when it comes to politics and governance, while it remains at the same moderate risks in terms of macroeconomics, sector strategies and policies.

Likewise, Bangladesh has dropped to moderate risks in the fiduciary environment and social categories.

But the risks in technical design of projects and programmes and stakeholder categories increased to substantial levels, and its institutional capacity for implementation and sustainability still remains at high risk, the World Bank said.

Four challenges to Bangladesh's development

Identifying four challenges to the development of Bangladesh, the World Bank said the private sector has remained narrow-based and not competitive to drive growth and job creation. The formal sector is dominated by a few large firms, which tend to be inward looking, benefitting from market protections, or RMG exports under special incentive programmes, and supported by close links with the banking sector. Technology adoption among Bangladeshi firms is slow. Foreign direct investment flows remain low.

As the country aspires to become an upper middle income country by 2031 and a high-income country by 2041, economic growth needs to be accompanied by income growth through enhanced job creation, particularly in the form of formal wage jobs, the global lender noted.

Job creation, in turn, critically hinges on the performance of the private sector to drive growth and economic transformation through investment and productivity growth; the public sector also plays an important role in facilitating private sector growth by providing a conducive policy environment and effective service delivery, it pointed out.

The World Bank found inefficient, unsustainable, and less inclusive pattern of spatial transformation as the second challenge in the economy.

Another main challenge for Bangladesh is job creation and service delivery, according to the draft that recommended enhancing regulatory quality and formal institutions to make markets contestable to support the development of a broad-based private sector.

To maintain Bangladesh's export competitiveness after the LDC graduation, it needs to boost private sector productivity to accelerate growth and job creation, the development partner also said, adding that the World Bank will help to develop a diversified and competitive private sector through a more enabling environment to promote market entries of new firms, promote FDI, foster technology adoption including green technologies.

Key areas of engagement are tariff modernisation to promote export diversification, modernisation to investment related-laws to promote FDI, regulatory simplification to foster new enterprise development, seeking IFC investment opportunities in high-value pharmaceuticals, white goods and economic zones.

For the country to shift to the next level of development, it needs an effective and efficient public sector that provides quality services to businesses and citizens and makes effective investments to boost growth and build resilience, the draft CPF added.

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Saifuddin Saif & Abul Kashem

28 June, 2022, 10:50 pm

Last modified: 28 June, 2022, 11:03 pm

Bangladesh expects $5.5b from WB, IMF in budget support

$1 billion interest-free loan is expected for the first time from WB



Bangladesh is for the first time looking to get more than $1 billion from the World Bank at zero interest – a fillip to dwindling foreign currency reserves.  

Besides, the finance ministry is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain $4.5 billion at low interests as a support for the country's balance of payments.

In this way, $5.5 billion in total is expected in next three years from the two Washington-based lenders as part of precautionary measures to deal with external payment deficit and foreign currency shortages caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, according to finance ministry officials in the know about the development.

To secure the IMF loan to shore up forex reserves, top officials at the ERD will virtually meet with the IMF country representative today (Wednesday) to discuss it.

Finance Division Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin and Planning Commission Member Sharifa Khan will attend the meeting.

On 12 July, an IMF mission will come to Bangladesh for a negotiation over the loan. Before that, the finance ministry will send a letter to the development lender upon receiving permission from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in regard to implementing IMF terms and conditions, a finance ministry official told The Business Standard, seeking anonymity.  

Finance ministry officials say it might take at least six months to sign the loan agreement after all such formalities are completed.  

There are now big deficits in Bangladesh's balance of payments and current account balance because of rising prices of commodities in the global market and higher import bills than export earnings.

As a result, the forex reserve has come under strain and inflation hit an eight-year high with taka losing its value substantially.

With Europe and the United States facing recession risks, Bangladesh might see its export earnings fall in days to come.

In July-April of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh's trade deficit stood at $27.57 billion, while its current account deficit was $15.32 billion.

In FY22, the Bangladesh Bank has so far injected around $7 billion into the forex market to meet the dollar crisis. The country now has around $42 billion in its forex reserve. 

In this situation, the government is planning to get the $4.5 billion budget support as a preparation to tackle possible risks in the next three years, considering the present global uncertainties, said ERD officials. 

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have also sought budget support from the IMF to address their foreign exchange crises. The two countries had to raise fuel prices by withdrawing subsidies as part of compliance with the IMF conditions. Petrol now costs Rs500 per litre. The fuel price hike in Pakistan has caused uproar.

Noting that the IMF may not impose conditions on Bangladesh to withdraw subsidies on oil, gas, electricity and fertilisers, finance ministry officials said Bangladesh's position is much better than Pakistan's and Sri Lanka's as the country's subsidies are still low in proportion to GDP.

Asked about the IMF's conditionalities for Bangladesh, a senior ERD official said those are not yet fixed. But implementing reforms in state-owned commercial banks, reducing non-performing loans, developing capital markets, especially for the domestic debt market, and improving monetary, fiscal and financial governance are expected to come with the loan offers.

Broader issues that may also be tagged include modernising monetary policy framework, improving fiscal frameworks and reducing fiscal risks, creating fiscal space for growth-enhancing and inclusive spending, reducing financial vulnerabilities by recognising problems, strengthening supervision and enhance regulation, enhancing the quality of data and carrying out reforms related to reducing climate related vulnerabilities, he noted.

Mentioning that Bangladesh has received IMF's budget support three times before, a Finance Division official said the first such assistance was disbursed by the IMF was in 1991-1992. 

The government took $500 million in budget support to cover the balance of payment deficit for the second time in 2012 when the value of taka against dollars fell sharply. At that time, the government enacted the much-discussed VAT law as part of meeting the IMF's conditions.

Later, the government received a budget support amounting to $750 million from the IMF in Covid-19 times without requiring to fulfil many such conditions.

ERD and Finance Division officials said the government will take loans from three IMF programmes – the Extended Credit Facility, the Extended Fund Facility and the Resilience and Sustainability Facility – as there is no opportunity to borrow much from a single one. 

There is no interest on the loan taken from Extended Credit Facility, not even any service charge. Bangladesh will get a grace period of 5.5 years to repay this loan over a period of 10 years.

The interest rates on two other packages vary between 1.54% and 1.79%.

Ahsan H Mansur, former IMF official and executive director at the Policy Research Institute told TBS that if the government pays attention to necessary reforms, budget support from the IMF will be available before the country falls in any crisis. 

Once the crisis begins, it will be difficult to get the support, he said.

The IMF will impose conditions for different reforms on providing such a large amount of financial support, the implementation of which will require the government's political consent. 

No reform has been taking place in Bangladesh for many years, he noted, adding that this is the last chance for reforms, the government will not be able to reform next year when the national elections will be held.

"If we get budget support from the IMF, other agencies, including the World Bank, will come forward with such support," he added.

New WB window

The World Bank for the first time has opened up the short maturity loan window without interest for all lower-middle-income countries like Bangladesh, to help the countries overcome pandemic shocks. 

The loan window will remain open for three years from July 2022 to June 2025 under the 20th International Development Association replenishment (IDA20), the largest financing package involving $93 billion to date.  The repayment time is 12 years including a grace period of six years.
According to Economic Relations Divisions (ERD) officials, an IDA member country will have a scope for taking out 25% in a short maturity loan of what will be earmarked for it in the IDA20 package. 

IDA-green, IDA-gap, and IDA-blend countries will be eligible for this interest-free loan.

The ceiling for IDA20 has not been set yet. Under IDA19, Bangladesh had access to $4.2 billion. The amount in the latest financing package will not be less than that. So, the zero-interest loan will stand at more than $1 billion, they noted.

As the IDA20 package will take effect from next July, Bangladesh has started trying to get the zero-interest loan as quickly as possible because if the loan is secured and utilised in the initial phase, there will be an opportunity to get more from those unused by other IDA members.

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বিদ্যুতের আধুনিকায়নে সাড়ে ৪ হাজার কোটি টাকা ঋণ দিচ্ছে বিশ্বব্যাংক

জ্যেষ্ঠ প্রতিবেদক

২৯ জুন ২০২২, ০৯:৩৮ পিএম

বিদ্যুতের সরবরাহ ব্যবস্থার আধুনিকায়ন ও শক্তিশালী করতে বাংলাদেশকে ৫০ কোটি মার্কিন ডলার ঋণ দিচ্ছে বিশ্বব্যাংক। বাংলাদেশি মুদ্রায় এ অর্থের পরিমাণ ৪ হাজার ৫০০ কোটি টাকা (প্রতি ডলার সমান ৯০ টাকা ধরে)।  

বুধবার (২৯ জুন) বাংলাদেশ সরকার ও বিশ্বব্যাংকের মধ্যে এ সংক্রান্ত ঋণ চুক্তি সই হয়েছে। অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বিভাগের (ইআরডি) সচিব ফাতিমা ইয়াসমিন ও বাংলাদেশে নিযুক্ত বিশ্বব্যাংকের ভারপ্রাপ্ত কান্ট্রি ডিরেক্টর দনদন চেন নিজ নিজ পক্ষে চুক্তিতে সই করেন। ইআরডি থেকে পাঠানো এক সংবাদ বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে এ তথ্য জানানো হয়। 

বিশ্বব্যাংক জানায়, বিদ্যুৎ ব্যবস্থার আধুনিকায়নের এ কর্মসূচির আওতায় ঢাকা ও ময়মনসিংহ বিভাগের চার কোটি মানুষের কাছে উন্নত বিদ্যুৎ সেবা পৌঁছানো হবে। এর মাধ্যমে ৩১ হাজার কিলোমিটার বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহ লাইন ও ১৫৭ উপকেন্দ্র আপগ্রেড ও নির্মাণ করা হবে। একই সঙ্গে ২৫টি পল্লী বিদ্যুৎ সমিতির জন্য জলবায়ু সহায়ক বিদ্যুৎ সরবরাহ ব্যবস্থা তৈরিতে উদ্যোগ নেওয়া হবে।

বাংলাদেশে বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের ভারপ্রাপ্ত কান্ট্রি ডিরেক্টর দনদন চেন বলেন, গত এক দশকে বাংলাদেশ বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন চারগুণের বেশি বাড়িয়েছে। আর ৯৯ ভাগের বেশি মানুষের কাছে বিদ্যুৎ সংযোগ নিয়ে গেছে। কিন্তু বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদনের উল্লেখযোগ্য গতির সঙ্গে তাল মিলিয়ে সরবরাহ নেটওয়ার্ক গড়ে তুলতে পারেনি। এ ঋণ কর্মসূচি জলবায়ু সহনশীল সরবরাহ নেটওয়ার্কের আধুনিকায়ন ও নিশ্চিত করতে সহায়তা করবে, যা নিরাপদ ও নির্ভরযোগ্য বৈদ্যুতিক ব্যবস্থার মেরুদণ্ড। বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের আন্তর্জাতিক উন্নয়ন সংস্থার (আইডিএ) মাধ্যমে দেওয়া হবে ৩০ বছর মেয়াদি এ ঋণ। এর মধ্যে থাকবে পাঁচ বছরের রেয়াত কাল। ‍ঋণের আওতায় বিশ্বব্যাংকে সার্ভিস চার্জ দিতে হবে শূন্য দশমিক ২৫ শতাংশ এবং কমিটমেন্ট চার্জ দিতে হবে শূন্য দশমিক ২৫ শতাংশ।

মোট অর্থের মধ্যে ১৫ লাখ ডলার ক্লিন টেকনোলজি ফান্ডের (সিটিএফ) আওতায় অনুদান হিসাবে দেওয়া হবে বলেও জানানো হয় বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে। এ কর্মসূচিসহ বাংলাদেশের বিদ্যুৎ ও জ্বালানি খাতে বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের ১০৮ কোটি ডলারের সহায়তা কার্যক্রম চলমান রয়েছে বলে জানিয়েছে সংস্থাটি। প্রকল্পটি চলতি সময় থেকে ৩১ ডিসেম্বর ২০২৬ মেয়াদে বাস্তবায়িত হবে ।



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Saifuddin Saif & Eyamin Sajid

05 July, 2022, 12:30 pm

Last modified: 05 July, 2022, 01:42 pm

Germany’s KFW takes back Tk73cr grant after dispute with DPDC

A revised proposal to complete the project with govt funding has been sent to the Planning Commission for approval



Delay in the implementation of the pre-payment meter installation project and disagreement between Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) and the German consulting firm FICHTNER have led to Germany's KFW taking back Tk73 crore of the initially pledged Tk91 crore grant for the project.

At a cost of Tk173 crore, the approved period of the "Pre-Payment Metering Project for six NOCS Division under DPDC" was July 2013 – December 2015. Later the term was extended three times in two years till December 2020. On the other hand, according to the agreement, the German state-owned bank KFW's disbursement period was until 31 December 2020.

As the fund could not be spent within the stipulated time, KFW made it known through the Economic Relations Department (ERD) that it would no longer finance the project, which aims at the installation of 144,500 pre-payment meters in Dhaka and Narayanganj.

However, DPDC, the implementing agency of the project, says it is the German consulting firm FICHTNER that caused the delay.

The progress of the project was stalled when DPDC and FICHTNER had disagreements over what type of pre-payment meters will be used.

"The consulting firm for the project was hired from Germany as the grant came from that country. The firm proposed an old model pre-payment meter, while DPDC suggested modern pre-payment meters at affordable prices. Disagreement over this led to the project to delay," said Engineer Bikash Dewan, managing director of DPDC.

According to DPDC and Planning Commission sources, the implementation progress of the project has been a mere 22.8% in 9 years. Under these circumstances, another extension until June 2024 has been proposed.

In the revised project proposal review report, the Planning Commission says the project work has been delayed due to the consulting firm's failure to prepare documents in time. Later, the decision on the meter technology and appointing a contractor on a turnkey basis was also delayed. 

The Planning Commission says that if the project had been implemented on time, there would be no need to increase the disbursement period and at present there would be no need to implement the project with the government's own funding.

FICHTNER's Head of Communication Antonio Miralles declined to comment on the matter, citing "reasons of confidentiality on clients' projects". 

Usually multilateral and bilateral projects are implemented with funding from a development partner. The contract period or disbursement period is extended in case of delayed implementation.

Asked why the German-funded project did not extend the disbursement period, a senior ERD official said on condition of anonymity that Germany usually extends the disbursement period in such cases. However, KFW did not explain why the project was not extended.

Only Tk17.61 crore was spent from the grant during the contract period and the German consulting firm FICHTNER received a significant portion of the bill.

Meanwhile, due to KFW's pulling back from funding, it has been decided to implement the project with government funds and DPDC's own funds. Recently a revised project proposal has been sent to the Planning Commission for approval.

In the original project proposal, in addition to KFW's Tk91 crore, Tk68.23 crore was allocated from government funds and Tk14.12 crore from DPDC's own funds.

In the amended proposal, the cost of the project has been reduced to Tk103 crore, including Tk17 crore, already used from the German grant. It recommended Tk73.47 crore from government funds and Tk11.93 from DPDC's.

The revised proposal cuts back spending on training, travel expenses, fuel, stationery, machinery, equipment and civil works.

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বৈদেশিক ঋণ ও রেমিটেন্সের দিকে নজর দিতে হবে, বলছেন বিশেষজ্ঞরা

বাংলাদেশ বিভিন্ন মেগা প্রকল্পে ১৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের ঋণ নিয়েছে। ২০২৩ সাল থেকে ঋণ পরিশোধ শুরু করতে হবে। ফলে ২০২৩-২৪ সাল থেকে পরিস্থিতি খারাপের দিকে যাবে বলে মনে করছেন বিশেষজ্ঞরা


ডয়চে ভেলে

প্রকাশিত: ০৭:৫৬ বিকাল জুলাই ১৩, ২০২২

বাংলাদেশে বৈদেশি মুদ্রার রিজার্ভ কমে যাওয়ায় আইএমএফ থেকে কমপক্ষে পাঁচ বিলিয়ন ডলার ঋণ নেওয়ার পরামর্শ দিয়েছেন বিশ্লেষকেরা। তারা বলছেন, রিজার্ভ কমে যাওয়া মানে হচ্ছে অর্থনেতিক সক্ষমতা কমে যাওয়া।

সর্বশেষ রপ্তানি ব্যয় পরিশোধের পর বাংলাদেশের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রার রিজার্ভ কমে ৩৯.৭৭ বিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলারে দাঁড়ায়। গত সপ্তাহে এশিয়ান ক্লিয়ারিং ইউনিয়নকে (এসিইউ) ১.৯৯ বিলিয়ন ডলার আমদানি ব্যয় নিস্পত্তির পর রিজার্ভ ৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের নিচে নেমে যায়। গত ডিসেম্বরে রিজার্ভ ছিলো ৪৬.১৫ বিলিয়ন ডলার।

গত দুই বছরের মধ্যে এই প্রথমবারের মতো রিজার্ভের পরিমান ৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের নিচে নেমে গেল। ২০১৩ সাল থেকে বাংলাদেশের রিজার্ভ ধারাবাহিকভাবে বাড়তে থাকে। ওই বছরের জুন মাসের শেষে রিজার্ভের পরিমান ছিলো ১৫.৩২ বিলিয়ন ডলার। গত বছরে আগস্টে প্রথমবারের মত রিজার্ভের পরিমাণ ৪৮.০৬ বিলিয়ন ডলার হয়। এরপর কমতে থাকে। গত অর্থবছরের শেষ দিন ৩০ জুন রিজার্ভ ছিলো ৪১.৮৬ বিলিয়ন ডলার।

অর্থনৈতিক বিশ্লেষকেরা বলছেন, আমদানি ব্যয় বেড়ে যাওয়া, সেই অনুপাতে রপ্তানি না বাড়া, রেমিটেন্স কমে যাওয়া এবং ডলারের তুলনায় টাকার অবমূল্যায়ন- প্রভৃতি কারণে রিজার্ভ কমে গেছে। আর জ্বালানি আমদানিতে ব্যয় আরও বেড়ে গেলে রিজার্ভে টান বাড়তেই থাকবে। সাধারণভাবে তিন মাসের আমদানি ব্যয় মেটানোর মতো রিজার্ভ   থাকার কথা বলা হলেও রিজার্ভ কমে যাওয়া অর্থনৈতিক শক্তি কমে যাওয়াকে ইঙ্গিত করে। বাংলাদেশের এখনো পাঁচ-ছয় মাসের আমদানি ব্যয় মেটানোর মত রিজার্ভ থাকলেও তাতে আশ্বস্ত হওয়ার কিছু নেই। কারণ আমদানি ব্যয়ের তুলনায় রপ্তানি আয় কমতে থাকলে রিজার্ভও কমতে থাকবে। একই সঙ্গে প্রবাসি আয় কমতে থাকলেও পরিস্থিতি খারাপের দিকে যেতে পারে। বাংলাদেশকে গড়ে মাসে   এখন সাত মিলিয়ন ডলারের বেশি আমদানি ব্যয় মেটাতে হয়।

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের সাবেক গভর্নর ড. সালেহউদ্দিন আহমেদ বলেন, “আমরা বলব না যে আমরা একেবারে সংকটের মধ্যে আছি। ৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের কাছাকাছি রিজার্ভ মানে হচ্ছে ছয় মাসের মতো রপ্তানি ব্যয় মেটানো যাবে। তিন-চার মাসের থাকলেই চলে। তবে এখানে আশঙ্কার বিষয় হলো রিজার্ভ দ্রুত কমে গেছে।”

বাংলাদেশের আমদানি ব্যয় বেড়ে গেছে। গত অর্থ বছরের জুলাই থেকে মে   ১১ মাসে আমদানি হয়েছে ৭৫.৭ বিলিয়ন ডলারের। যা আগের তুলনায় ৩৯% বেশি। একই সময়ের মধ্যে ৩৩% বেড়ে রপ্তানি হয়েছে ৪৪.৪২ বিলিয়ন ডলারের। এই প্রথমবারে মত প্রবাসী আয়ও কমেছে। গত অর্থ বছরে রেমিটেন্স এসেছে দুই হাজার ১০৩ কোটি ডলার। আর তার আগের অর্থ বছরে রেমিটেন্স আসে দুই হাজার ৪৭৭ কোটি ডলার।

ড. সালেহ উদ্দিন মনে করেন, “এখন যে রিজার্ভের হিসাব দেখানো হচ্ছে তার মধ্যে এক্সপোর্ট ডেভেলপমেন্ট ফান্ড (ইডিএফ) আছে। এটা তো রিজার্ভ থেকেই দেওয়া হচ্ছে। এরমধ্যে সাত বিলিয়ন ডলার দেওয়া হয়ে গেছে। সেটা কি ফেরত এসেছে? না আসলে সেই ডলার তো আর রিজার্ভে নেই।”

আরো একটি সমস্যা হলো টাকার অবমূল্যায়ন হওয়ায় পেমেন্ট রেট আরো বেড়ে যাবে বলে জানান তিনি।

সাবেক তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকারের অর্থ উপদেষ্টা ড. মীর্জা আজিজুল ইসলাম মনে করেন, “আশঙ্কার বিষয় না থাকলেও দ্রুতই রিজার্ভ আগের অবস্থায় ফিরিয়ে আনার উদ্যোগ নিতে হবে। আমদানি কমাতে হবে। বিশেষ করে বিলাসপণ্যের। সরকার উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে। এলসি মার্জিন বাড়িয়েছে। কিন্তু সেটা কতটা কার্যকর হচ্ছে দেখা দরকার। রপ্তানি বাড়াতে হবে। আর রেমিটেন্স বাড়ানোর উদ্যোগ নিতে হবে। প্রণোদনা বাড়ানো যেতে পারে। কার্ব মার্কেটে তো ডলারের দাম ব্যাংকের চেয়ে বেশি। তাই সব রেমিটেন্স ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেলে আনার ব্যবস্থা করতে হবে।”

সিপিডির গবেষণা পরিচালক অর্থনীতিবিদ ড. খন্দকার গোলাম মোয়াজ্জেম মনে করেন, “এখনো পাঁচ-ছয় মাসের আমদানি ব্যয় পরিশোধের রিজার্ভ আছে সেটা ভেবে আশ্বস্ত হওয়া যাবে না। কারণ দ্রুত রিজার্ভ কমে যাওয়া অর্থনীতির সক্ষমতা নিয়ে প্রশ্ন তোলে। রিজার্ভ বেশি থাকলে অর্থনীতি স্থিতিশীল থাকে। এক সময় আমাদের আট মাসের মত আমদানি ব্যয় পরিশোধের সক্ষমতা ছিল।”

তিনি বলেন, “আমাদের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা আসার খাতগুলোর যদি অগ্রগতি না হয় তাহলে আমাদের দেশের বাইরের আন্তর্জাতিক আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে ঋণ নিতে হবে। বিশ্বব্যাংক এরই মধ্যে এক বিলিয়ন ডলার দেওয়ার কথা জানিয়েছে। সরকার আইএমএফ থেকে সাড়ে চার বিলিয়ন ডলারের ঋণ নেওয়ার আলোচনা শুরু করেছে। তবে এই উদ্যোগগুলো আরো আগে নেওয়া দরকার ছিল।”

বাংলাদেশ বিভিন্ন মেগা প্রকল্পে ১৪০ বিলিয়ন ডলারের ঋণ নিয়েছে। ২০২৩ সাল থেকে ঋণ পরিশোধ শুরু করতে হবে। আর সুদ পরিশোধের পরিমাণও বাড়ছে। শুধু রূপপুর পারমানবিক প্রকল্পেই ২০২৩ সাল থেকে বছরে ৫৬৫ মিলিয়ন ডলার সুদ দিতে হবে।

সিপিডির বোর্ড অব ট্রাস্টির সদস্য অর্থনীতিবিদ ড. দেবপ্রিয় ভট্টাচার্য মনে করেন, “ঋণ ও সুদ পরিশোধ করতে গিয়ে ২০২৩-২৪ সাল থেকে পরিস্থিতি খারাপের দিকে যাবে। রিজার্ভের ওপর তখন আরও অনেক বেশি চাপ পড়বে।”

তিনি বলেন, “আমদানি-রপ্তানির ভারসাম্য এবং রেমিটেন্স এই দুই জায়গায়ই আমরা স্মরণকালের সবচেয়ে বড় ঘাটতিতে আছি। রেমিটেন্স বাড়বে আবার কমবে। কিন্তু   অব্যাহতভাবে বাড়ার ট্রেন্ড থাকবে না। তাই আমাদের এখন রিজার্ভ ঠিক রাখতে উদ্যোগ প্রয়োজন। বড় ধরনের বৈদেশিক বিনিয়োগ আসলে আমাদের সক্ষমতা বাড়ত। কিন্তু সেটাতো দুই বিলিয়ন ডলারের বেশি হয় না। একমাত্র ইতিবাচক জায়গা হলো বৈদেশিক সাহায্য। গত বছর আট বিলিয়ন ডলার বৈদেশিক সাহায্য না আসলে পরিস্থিতি অনেক খারাপ হতো। এটাই আমাদের রিজার্ভ এবং টাকার মানকে এখনো টিকিয়ে রেখেছে। সরকার আগেই আইএমএফ”র কাছে গেলে ভালো হতো। আইএমফ আর্থিক ব্যবস্থাপনার কিছু শর্ত দেবে। তাই দক্ষ আর্থিক ব্যবস্থাপনাই আগামীর মূল চ্যালেঞ্জ।”

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ADB tops list of loans pledged in FY '22

JICA in second position, WB third

 FHM Humayan Kabir |  July 14, 2022 00:00:00


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) emerged as the top lender to Bangladesh, confirming US$2.08 billion worth of assistance in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY 2021-22), officials said on Tuesday.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the second-biggest lender in FY '22, followed by the World Bank (WB), which was the top lender previously, they said.

According to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) data, the ADB made a commitment of $2.08 billion in loans and grants from July 2021 to May 2022, $543 million higher than $1.54 billion confirmed by the WB during the period while the JICA confirmed $1.78 billion.

"Over the last few years, the ADB has been coming forward with higher lending to Bangladesh's different projects. Many of the projects are very important and mega ones," said a senior ERD official.

The Manila-based lender in a single deal provided $940 million worth of loan in June 2021 for purchasing coronavirus vaccines.

In August 2021, the top lender also approved a $1.78 billion multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) to improve mobility, road safety, and regional trade along the Dhaka-Sylhet trade corridor in Bangladesh.

It also provided some $500 million worth of budgetary support to weather the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Bangladesh's economy during the last FY.

Currently, the ADB has been bankrolling some mega projects like the Dohazari-Cox's Bazar-Ramu-Ghundum railway line, Joydevpur-Elenga 4-lane road, Elenga-Rangpur 4-lane road and Dhaka-Sylhet 4-lane road development projects.

Meanwhile, it confirmed $1.65 billion in the previous FY '21 and $1.79 billion in FY '20, ERD data showed.

The number of ADB-funded total ongoing projects in Bangladesh would be 57 where it has confirmed $10.84 billion worth of assistance over the last few years.

Another ERD official said that although the WB was the largest development partner of Bangladesh previously, the ADB has emerged as the largest partner.

Its top position may continue in the future as there are some big loans in its planned portfolio, he said.

The ADB, for the next four years between 2022 and 2025, has also assured Bangladesh of providing  $11.71 billion worth of loans and grants.

It means the lender has a plan to provide $2.92 billion worth of assistance on an average per year between the calendar years 2022 and 2025, ERD officials said.

However, the ADB's loan is getting costlier as most of it is the LIBOR-based loans.

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