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Dhaka to push for waiver of ADB’s commitment charge

Aid for Rohingya also on agenda

S M Jahangir from Manila, Philippines | May 06, 2018 00:00:00

Bangladesh will seek waiver of the existing 'commitment charge' levied by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and grant assistance from the lender to cope with the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

Finance minister AMA Muhith, who is now in Manila to attend the 51st annual meeting of the ADB, is expected to raise the issue when he meets ADB President Takehiko Nakao today (Sunday).

"I am going to put forward a couple of issues including seeking the withdrawal of the ADB's existing commitment charge and the bank's grant for helping tackle Rohingya problems during my meeting with Mr Takehiko Nakao," Muhith told this correspondent.

When asked, the Bangladesh finance minister said: "I don't see any justification for having such 'commitment charge' that the ADB now levies."

Some of the ADB members are also pursuing the Asian lender for withdrawing such charge, he added.

According to the operational manual of the ADB, commitment charge of 15 basis points per year is levied on undisbursed balances of all projects and policy-based loans, beginning 60 days after the applicable loan agreement is signed and accruing when the loan becomes effective. For project loans, borrowers may capitalise the commitment charge, it revealed.

Muhith said he would also push for ADB grant to help Bangladesh cope with the crisis created after the influx of about more than one million Rohingya people from Myanmar.

When his attention was drawn to the observations made by the ADB president recently regarding the multilateral lender's engagement in Rohingya problems, Muhith said he would seek grant from donors instead of loans.

"The World Bank wanted to provide us with support in the form of loans, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was not in favour of getting loans from donors/lenders, especially for addressing the Rohighya problem," said the finance minister.

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