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BD seeks addl $4.5b support from WB: Muhith

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BSS, Bali (Indonesia) :
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Thursday said Bangladesh has sought $4.5 billion additional fund from the World Bank under the ongoing Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with the lending agency as the country has realized the already committed $4.5 billion World Bank support in just two years.
"They (World Bank) earlier made an allocation of $4.5 billion for the ongoing framework, but we've achieved that in just two years. So, we made a fresh demand for another $4.5 billion before them. But, I can't speculate right now what we will get from them, but it will be not less than $ 2 billion," Muhith said.
The Finance Minister said this while briefing reporters this afternoon at Hotel Westin in Bali about his engagements of two days (Wednesday and Thursday) at the World Bank Group and IMF Annual Meetings 2018 that will formally kick off tomorrow (Friday).
Alternate Executive Director of Bangladesh to the World Bank M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Economic Relations Division (ERD) Senior Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary in Charge of the Finance Division Abdur Rouf Talukder and Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia Major General Azmal Kabir were present, among others, at the briefing.
Regarding to his meetings with World Bank Executive Director Aparna Subramani and IMF executive director Dr Subir Vithal Gokarn on Wednesday and South Asia Regional Vice President of the World Bank Hartwig Scahafer on Thursday at the Hotel Westin, Muhith said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the capital of the World Bank has increased.
About the issue of Non Performing Loans (NPL) discussed with the IMF executive director, Muhith said they would make a statement at the end of this year on this issue which will be a guideline for the next government to do something in this area.
Regarding his meeting with executive Vice President and CEO of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Keiko Honda, Muhith said that the MIGA has been very active in Bangladesh and they provided guarantee mostly in the energy sector.
"I have requested her (MIGA CEO) to focus more on PPP in Bangladesh as the demand of PPP in Bangladesh is very high with operations of 42 projects involving $14 billion. Any kind of help from them in this regard is most welcome," he added.
The Finance Minister said although the PPP operations in Bangladesh started very slowly, but at this moment it offers a great opportunity while all the Ministries and Divisions have been instructed to undertake at least one third of its projects in PPP.
Talking about his meeting with International Finance Corporation (IFC) Regional Vice President Snezana Stoiljkovic at Hotel Westin, Muhith said the IFC Vice President has requested him to shorten the process of giving approval to the private projects before taking finance from the IFC.
In response, Muhith said he would discuss the matter with the Bangladesh Bank before taking any decision further.
He also sought help from the IFC to form a Metropolitan Transport Authority like in New York to help address the coordination problem of transport in the capital considering the growing population.
In reponse, Muhith said that the IFC Vice President had assured him that they would bring international knowledge in this regard to the government of Bangladesh.
Besides, Snezana informed that they have a target to increase their annual finance to the Bangladeshi private sector projects to $ 1 billion from the existing $600 million per year.
Asked about the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Muhith said this trade war is certainly not very healthy for the global economy as the US is a big market while China is also a big exporter.
"If they (US and China) continue to engage in trade war, then every country will have the scope to suffer………we also want this war should end as quickly as possible with some understanding," he noted.
About the outcome of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting on Thursday, Muhith said Bangladesh has offered the other commonwealth countries to share its good experience on disaster management. "We can provide support to any country who wants it as our disaster management capacity is very well organized," he added.

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