Finance Minister, AHM Mustafa Kamal, has called upon the World Bank to provide fast loans to Bangladesh on the basis of population to purchase Covid – 19 vaccines.
He made the call at a virtual meeting held on the evening of October 22 between Bangladesh and the World Bank, said a press release.
Finance Minister, AHM Mustafa Kamal, and the WB vice president for South Asia Region, Hartwig Schaefer, led their respective sides.
Finance Secretary and Secretary of Economic Relations Department participated in the discussion as members of the Bangladesh delegation.
At the start of the meeting, the Finance Minister thanked the World Bank for its continued support for the overall development of Bangladesh.
He sought the co-operation of Hartwig Schaefer to take necessary steps to provide loan assistance for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccine for Bangladesh, the 3rd most populous country amongst the International Development Association (IDA) countries in terms of population.
AHM Mustafa Kamal also lauded the prompt and timely initiatives taken by the World Bank to address the Covid-19 epidemic.
In this context, he mentioned the need to provide $100 million in loan assistance to Bangladesh to deal with Covid-19 in an expeditious manner.
The World Bank also requested that the issue of Bangladesh be viewed positively.
Bangladesh has requested the WB to provide $500 million for the import/purchase, storage, transport and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine.
Out of the total allocation of $500 million for the proposed Covid-19 Recovery and Response project to offset the multifaceted damage caused by the pandemic, Bangladesh has made a strong request to the WB for the emergency release of at least $250 million in the current fiscal year 2020-2021.
In order to keep afloat the labour market, financial and social sectors of the country affected by the ongoing Corona pandemic, Bangladesh has also requested the global lender to release $250 million as budget support for the 3rd installment under the World Bank's Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit (DPC) project in the current fiscal year.
Most of the requirements for Jobs DPC have already been fulfilled, said the Bangladesh delegation.
Abdur Rauf Talukder, Senior Secretary, Finance Department, informed the meeting that Bangladesh would be able to fulfill the remaining conditions immediately.
During the discussion, Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Department of Economic Relations, said under IDA-17, Bangladesh has demonstrated its ability to adopt and implement projects costing $5 billion from IDA, and $2 billion from Scale-Up Facility (SUF), the maximum amount per unit.
She requested WB to provide Bangladesh with more allocation under IDA-19 than in previous years as it has shown capacity in project adoption and implementation.