The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will give $500 million more in budget assistance for Bangladesh to help the country restore jobs lost as a result of Covid-19.
"This loan might get approval from the ADB's board of directors by mid-October," said Abdul Baki, additional secretary to the Economic Relations Department (ERD).
The new budget support will mainly focus on generating employment for the jobless and rehabilitating expat returnees impacted by the pandemic, he pointed out.
They will be provided with low-interest loans from the fund to set up businesses and boost self-employment, Abdul Baki said.
The government will disburse the loans through Palli Sanchay Bank, Probashi Kallyan Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), the ERD official added. The Finance Division will coordinate the fund.
A study by South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (Sanem) has found that about 6-12 million people in Bangladesh have lost their jobs from the coronavirus fallout.
According to the Policy Research Institute, at least 15 million people have been added to the list of job losses in Bangladesh. Assuming an average family size of four, 60 million people are at risk of poverty, it added.
Around 1.55 lakh Bangladeshis returned home from different countries amidst the pandemic, according to the Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry.
On April 20, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had sought $1 billion in budget support from the ADB in the fiscal 2020-21, in addition to $500 million budget support in FY20 to overcome the Covid-19 shock.
In this continuum, on May 7, the ADB approved $500 million in budget support to benefit over 15 million poor and vulnerable people in Bangladesh.
On April 30, the ADB approved a $100 million concessional emergency loan to support Bangladesh's efforts to address the immediate public health requirements to combat the pandemic.
The ADB also released a $350,000 emergency grant for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, and $1.3 million from an existing project to provide one-time cash support to 22,619 trainees to enable them to continue their ongoing skills training programme.
In addition, $231,178 in grants were provided to augment Covid-19-related facilities in 134 urban primary healthcare centres across the country, called Nogor Swastho Kendro.
Since February, the ADB's emergency assistance grants to its developing members have helped ensure the supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.
In April, the ADB announced a $20 billion comprehensive response package to help its developing member countries address the immediate and long-term macroeconomic and health impacts of Covid-19 in the region.