Bangladesh seeks $2.6bn coronavirus funds from foreign donors

Bangladesh government has appealed to international aid agencies for funds worth $2.6 in loans and grants as assistance to shield the economy and its people from the coronavirus.

Published : 6 April 2020, 06:42 PM
Updated : 6 April 2020, 06:42 PM

According to current exchange rates, the sum of the requested fund is Tk 221 billion.

Bangladesh has asked for $850 million from the World Bank, $750 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), $600 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), $250 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and $150 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

Economic Relations Secretary Fatima Yasmin told, “We’ve sent letters seeking emergency assistance in saving the people and our economy from the coronavirus. We asked for support in planning our budget and battle against COVID-19.”

“We are in regular contact with these aid agencies; the confirmation could come soon.”

Shahidul Islam, additional secretary at the Economic Relations Division, said a letter was also sent to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for support amid the pandemic.

He pointed out that the Japanese agency does not provide funds for single projects. They might provide ‘engineering assistance’ or ‘waiver interests on loans’. He was positive that Japan would provide assistance by sending medical equipment to fight the coronavirus.

Shahabuddin Patwary, additional secretary to the ERD’s World Bank wing, told Bangladesh has an on-going contract with the World Bank for $750 million assistance as budget support in three instalments.

Bangladesh has received the first instalment of $250 million and requested the second on this term.

“They have been asked for assistance of $500 million to help us keep the economy stable in the current circumstances, and another $100 million to fight the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

The World Bank had already approved emergency funds of $100 million, according to him.

An ERD official said the signs of receiving aid from AIIB were positive. They have not heard from the ADB and IDB about the requests.

The IMF announced a $50 billion aid-package to help the low-income countries maintain economic stability. Bangladesh appealed for the aid to the agency from that package.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher