Coronavirus Fallout

Government seeks $1.25b from ADB

Staff Correspondent | Published: 21:07, Apr 20,2020


Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday asked the Asian Development Bank to provide the government of Bangladesh with $1.25 billion in loans to offset adverse impacts of the coronavirus outbreak that has destabilised the economy and employment.

The loans including $1 billion as budget support would be utilised from the next fiscal year starting from July, he told ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa at a meeting over telephone.

Mustafa Kamal also sought $100 million for frontline health service providers and $150 million for employing jobless expatriates and locals, according to a finance ministry press release.

Thanking the ADP president for the commitment of $602.39 million immediate assistance to meet the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, he said higher financial assistance from the ADP was imperative for overcoming the impacts.

He told the ADB president that almost all kinds of financial activities across the country had come to a halt due to general holidays announced by the government to ensure physical distancing and prevent spreading of the virus.

The inflow of remittance that provides a cushion to the country’s balance of payment and supporting domestic demand is under threat of deceleration like exports and imports, he noted.

The ADB president, according to the press release, hailed the Bangladesh’s stimulus packages worth Tk 95,619 crore equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The ADB president assured Mustafa Kamal of considering the requests that also included waiving the commitment charge with the disbursement of ADB loans to the country’s development projects.

At present, 63 projects involving $8.7 billion are no being funded by the ADP in Bangladesh.

Another 81 projects involving $9.94 billion are in the pipeline.

As a trusted and longstanding development partner, ADB is committed to supporting Bangladesh as it addresses the significant challenges presented by COVID-19, according to a press release of the Manila-based multilateral donor.

‘We are working hard to respond to the government’s request of $600 million for emergency assistance to help it effectively implement its response measures,’ said the ADB president.

On 13 April, the ADB tripled the size of its initial response to COVID-19 to $20 billion and approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance to help its developing member countries counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by the pandemic.

The ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice, the release said.

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