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Now Bangladesh eyes WB credit

Bank Vice-President arrives today

FE REPORT | November 12, 2022 00:00:00

Martin Raiser

Bangladesh will now urge the World Bank (WB) to expedite confirming an assured credit as the WB vice-president for South Asia comes today (Saturday), officials say, just after an IMF loan accord has been reached.

The WB Vice-President for South Asia Region Martin Raiser arrives in Dhaka today mainly on purpose of introducing the bank's newly appointed Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, Mr Abdoulaye Seck. But he also plans to talk necessary reforms with government high-ups here.

The new WB Country Director is scheduled to take over office on January 1 next.

An Economic Relations Division (ERD) official said Friday since Bangladesh is expecting some US$1.0 billion worth of budgetary support from the WB, the government would request the visiting vice-president to confirm the fiscal support, after getting the green signal from the IMF to provide $4.5 billion as similar loan.

More than a year ago, Bangladesh had sought the budgetary-support credit from the WB which has yet to be finalised as the Bank "is going slow", the ERD official says.

"Since the IMF team has just agreed to provide the loan to Bangladesh, we are hopeful of getting quick confirmation from the WB," he adds.

During the three-day visit, Mr Raiser would meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, the ERD Secretary and other senior government officials.

They will also visit a World Bank-supported project.

In a pre-arrival statement Mr Raiser says: "I am glad to be back in Bangladesh and to continue discussing with the government the important reforms that can help the country stay on the resilient and inclusive growth path and create opportunities for the people."

"Bangladesh has an impressive record in many aspects of development, including poverty reduction, climate-change adaptation and disaster-risk preparedness, and gender parity in school enrollment, to name a few," says the newly appointed CD, Mr Seck.

"I look forward to working closely with the government and people of Bangladesh as the country works toward the goal of achieving upper-middle-income status by 2031," he adds.

A Senegalese national, Mr Seck joined the World Bank in 1995 as an economist and has since held leadership positions in different countries.

Prior to taking this assignment, Seck had served as the Country Director for Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo.

He also served as the WB Country Manager for Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Moldova.

Since independence, the World Bank has committed more than $37 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is currently the largest International Development Association (IDA) programme borrower, totaling over $15.7 billion in 55 active projects.

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