Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has sought $1.25 billion in additional support, from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in the 2020-21 fiscal year, to cushion the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of the support, Kamal has sought $1 billion as budget support, $100 million for frontline medical personnel, law enforcement and civil servants plus $150 million for employment generation and counteracting business losses at micro, small and medium enterprises.
The finance minister sought the support during a telephone conversation with ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa Monday. Kamal also requested the ADB lower the commitment charge on undisbursed loans.
The ADB president assured the finance minister that he would assess the proposal and inform Bangladesh. The ADB has formed a $20 billion fund for developing countries to tackle the virus' fallout.
"The outbreak has started to impact our imports and exports. Most of the Bangladeshi expatriates abroad have become jobless due to the pandemic. Therefore, the remittance flows have come to a standstill," said Kamal said during the phone conversation.
"Most of the industries and businesses are closed. Public transportation and flights are suspended. The prime minister has announced a Tk95,619 crore stimulus plan. However, we need the ADB's support to overcome the crisis," he added.
The ADB president observed that the pandemic could unleash a major assault on the advancement of the Asia and Pacific region – on their economic, social and development fronts – resulting in the escalation of poverty and economic recession.
Currently, there are some 63 projects with overall ADB support totalling $8.70 billion. An additional 81 projects are in the pipeline with committed ADB support of $9.94 billion.