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BD seeks $1.0b aid from WB

FE Report | October 25, 2020 00:00:00

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has requested the World Bank (WB) to provide US$1.0 billion assistance to procure Covid-19 vaccine and support the budget expenditure in the current fiscal year.

The minister has sought $500 million aid from the global lender for procurement, preservation and supply of the vaccine in addition to its proposed three-year aid package for Bangladesh under IDA-19.

Besides, he has appealed for $250 million budgetary support from assured $500 million "Covid-19 Recovery and Response" programme and release of the third tranche of $250 million from committed  $750 million aid package under "Development Policy Credit (DPC)".

Mr Kamal made the request to the Washington-based lender while taking part in a virtual meeting with the WB team, led by South Asia Vice President Hartwig Schafer, on Thursday evening.

Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder and Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yeasmin and WB Country Director for Bangladesh Mercy Tembon also took part in the meeting from their respective sides.

Earlier, the WB has announced a $12 billion worth of package for Covid-19 vaccine for its member states. Of the fund, $6.0 billion would be disbursed among 75 IDA (International Development Association)-eligible countries.

Finance Minister Kamal told the WB team that since Bangladesh is the 3rd largest populated nation among these 75 countries, the Bank should disburse the fund proportionately for procuring Covid vaccine.

The minister praised the WB for its time-bound support to Bangladesh with its $100 million funds for tackling the coronavirus impact.

In reply, the WB team has assured Bangladesh of considering the request made by the finance minister.

Since Bangladesh's national budget is under pressure for the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister has requested the WB to disburse $250 million out of total $500 million package from the "Covid-19 Recovery and Response" on an emergency basis during this fiscal year (FY) 2020-21.

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