ADB to provide $11 billion to Bangladesh to address pandemic

Staff Correspondent | Published: 14:57, Aug 27,2020 | Updated: 01:30, Aug 28,2020

 
 

The Asian Development Bank may give up to $ 11 billion in loans to Bangladesh in next three years largely to address the COVID-19 outbreak and overcome the immediate challenges related to health and economic sectors.

The Manila-based multilateral lender has unveiled its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Bangladesh with $5.9 billion in firm project assistance and $5.2 billion in standby project assistance in 2021-2023, according to a news release issued by the ADB Dhaka office on Thursday.

According to the COBP, a total of $35.6 million is also kept for technical assistance in the period, it said.

Firm project assistance is the main pipeline for loans for the period, ADB officials said.

The ADB will maintain the additional fund for standby assistance so that the government can avail the financing based on its needs to implement the firm projects and new projects, they said.

The standby list includes a pipeline of bankable projects that respond to the country’s needs and growing absorptive capacity, to be financed depending on the availability of additional lending resources, the release said.

Regardless of firm or standby status, projects will be selected and processed based on strong government demand, sector absorptive capacity, and readiness, among other criteria, it added.

The new COBP is aligned with the guiding principles of the government’s 8th five-year plan (under preparation) and its core themes of promoting prosperity and fostering inclusiveness, and ADB’s Strategy 2030.

‘Given the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, we are enhancing our partnership with Bangladesh by adjusting program priorities to help the country overcome immediate challenges related to health and social protection, accelerate economic recovery, and maintain inclusive growth,’ ADB country director for Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash said.

Noting the government request for increased support, he said that ADB would increase its support for private sector, public-private partnership projects and help with bond market development.

ADB will leverage co-financing opportunities and use diverse financing tools and modalities including policy-based loan, technical assistance, grants, equity, guarantees, B-loan, and trade financing to mobilise more resources, he said.

Major projects included in the COBP are healthcare improvement programme, climate and disaster risk resilience project, agriculture productivity improvement project, skills for employment project, startup venture capital fund, small and medium-sized enterprises development programme, computer and software engineering tertiary education project, scaling up energy efficiency and conservation project, Chattogram water supply project, coastal town improvement project, SASEC international trade facilitation programme and a number of road and rail related projects.

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