Bangladesh has sought more financial support from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to face the economic fallout of Covid-19.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal made the request to AIIB President Jin Liqun in a teleconference on Thursday.
Kamal has sought an extra $600 million from the AIIB to face Covid-19's economic backlash. This includes $500 million in budget support for the next two fiscal years and $100 million in financial assistance.
The AIIB has already pledged $450 million to Bangladesh as budget support in the current fiscal year for emergency healthcare services.
Kamal informed Jin Liqun, "To tackle the adverse effects of coronavirus on its economy and on society, Bangladesh needs budget support of $500 million from the AIIB for the fiscal years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022."
When made available, the finance minister said, the $500 million fund would be used for agricultural automation, processing of agricultural products, setting-up of cold storage facilities, leather processing, cattle raising, and poultry and fish farming.
Mustafa Kamal also sought $100 million in financial assistance for the rehabilitation of small, medium and cottage industries.
While giving an assurance that Bangladesh's proposal will be considered seriously, the AIIB president hinted that there may be some changes in the funding modality.
Jin Liqun said, while tackling the epidemic, countries will have to start working on protecting their economies from now on. "Otherwise, it will not be possible to take the economy back to normal even in 2021."
In response, the finance minister told the AIIB president, "The corona outbreak has started to hurt Bangladesh's imports and exports. Also, most expatriate Bangladeshis have become jobless now, causing a drop in inward remittance flow."
So, Kamal sought the AIIB's support and assistance to deal with the crisis. "The $450 million pledged by the AIIB is crucial for us. But considering the current situation, Bangladesh needs much more assistance."
The AIIB has set up a $10 billion fund to assist its member states in tackling the effects of Covid-19. Seven projects are running in Bangladesh now with $1.18 billion assistance from the multilateral financial institution.