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Increased ADB budget sought to replenish forex reserves

FE REPORT | April 03, 2024 00:00:00

Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali

Finance minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Tuesday sought an increase in budgetary support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which helped Bangladesh make a quick recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

He made the request at a meeting with visiting ADB vice-president Fatima Yasmin at the former's secretariat office in Dhaka.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr Mahmood said Bangladesh had developed a very strong relationship with the ADB in the past 50 years.

He spoke of a Bangladesh delegation attending the upcoming annual meeting of the ADB where further discussion would be held on a budget-support programme. "Yes, they will give us support."

Elaborating the talks at the meeting, finance secretary Dr Khairuzzaman Mozumder told the briefing that Dhaka has been receiving concessional loans from the ADB.

The finance minister has requested more funds from the lender in the future, he said.

Mr Mozumder said budget support was a new window for Bangladesh where the ADB earlier supported a lot.

"Our economy could make a quick recovery due to budget support programme during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

Asked about increased budget support, Ms Fatima said they had been discussing the issue.

The ADB provided $800 million as budget support last year.

In the recent years, Bangladesh has received a handsome amount as budget support from its development partners.

The country got budget support, especially during the Covid period, to buy vaccines and after that further support for economic recovery.

Economic Relations Division data showed Bangladesh got budget worth $1.0 billion from development partners in fiscal year (FY) 2019-20, $1.09 billion in FY21, $2.6 billion in FY22 and $1.77 billion in FY23.

In the current fiscal year, the government sought over $1.5 billion to replenish its foreign-currency reserve, which remained under pressure since the Covid period and fell further as the Russia-Ukraine fighting began.

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