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$4.4b ADB loans likely for next three years

Energy, transport sectors to get priority

Syful Islam | April 19, 2019 00:00:00

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proposed providing US$4.41 billion credit line through 2022 to support Bangladesh's key sectors, officials said.

The sectors, which will get priority over the next three years, include energy, transport, education, agriculture, and finance.

The financial assistance will come under its Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for the next three years, according to a draft lending programme.

Of the total amount, some $1.82 billion will be provided from its soft-lending provision--concessional OCR loans.

The rest will come from its hard-term window - ordinary capital resources (OCR).

An ADB team is now in Dhaka to prepare the country business plan. The mission is scheduled to be concluded next week and finalise the plan.

"Like last year, sector absorptive capacity and project readiness were identified as key attribute for the selection of projects in the pipeline (for next three years)," the ADB said in a note.

It said with an enhanced resources base, the ADB aims to better respond to the country's developmental priorities, helping to address major growth constraints and bring transformational change.

The ADB also said priority will be given to projects, which are ready to be processed.

"Projects and programmes will continue to be processed based on readiness, regardless of being in the 'firm' or 'standby' category," the note said. "Processing may also be advanced or rescheduled from the listed programme years depending on readiness."

"To support the government efforts for achieving 100 per cent electricity access by 2021, ADB will help alleviate key impediments by investing in power generation, improving efficiency of transmission and distribution networks, energy efficiency, and support rural electrification," said the ADB note.

It also committed to proactively mobilise investment resources from the private sector, promote the use of renewable energy, and improve governance and regulatory frameworks.

The Manila-based lender also said its support aims at reducing high transport and logistics costs and improving access to domestic, regional, and international markets.

"The ADB will focus on the development of transport corridors integrating roads, railways, and ports, aiming to ease congestion, improve climate resilience, continue institutional reform and facilitate trade," the memo mentioned.

Last year the ADB, the country's second-largest development partner, confirmed some $2.1 billion funds.

For 2019, the ADB has some $1.44 billion available for approval for Bangladesh, of which $835 million will come as hard loans and $612.45 million as soft loans.

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