Japan will provide Bangladesh with $320 million in emergency budget support to help the country implement the stimulus packages declared by the government.
Bangladesh is going to get such budget support from Japan for the first time.
Both countries have signed an exchange of notes and a loan agreement for the "Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan", according to a press release issued by the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday informed his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the phone that their parliament has already approved the loan, said the Prime Minister's Secretary Ihsanul Karim.
The two leaders discussed different issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, bilateral economic relations and projects under-implementation with Japanese assistance during the 25-minute telephonic conversation, he added.
The Bangladesh prime minister sought more investment from Japan for the infrastructural development of Bangladesh.
Apprising Abe of the current Rohingya crisis, she requested the Japanese prime minister to assist Bangladesh in getting rid of this crisis. In reply, Shinzo Abe said he will talk to the Myanmar leadership to solve the Rohingya crisis, Ihsanul Karim said.
Sheikh Hasina thanked Abe for providing protective equipment such as PPE, masks and goggles to Bangladesh to curb coronavirus transmission.
ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin signed the "exchange of notes" and "loan agreement" on behalf of Bangladesh while ITO Naoki, Japanese ambassador in Bangladesh and Yuho Hayakawa, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Bangladesh office, signed the documents for Japan.
The programme's objective is to mitigate the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through concessional financing for the implementation of the government's countercyclical expenditure plan.
According to the ERD press release, this is very timely support for Bangladesh amid the coronavirus crisis and will contribute to health and economy and development efforts.
The interest rate is 0.01 percent. The repayment period is 15 years including a four-year grace period.
Japan has made available innumerable forms of support for the economic development of Bangladesh since the country's independence. Japan is the single largest bilateral development partner providing financial support for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.
Till June 2020, the support has reached $14.23 billion in official development assistance disbursement.
Japanese loans and grants are being utilised in a wide range of areas, including power, roads, bridges, telecommunication, agriculture, health, education, water supply and sanitation, rural development, environment, human resource development, etc.
Japanese assistance has contributed significantly to the country's overall development.