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Bangladesh - 2 weeks ago

PM for soft loan until economy normalises

Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the development partners to focus on giving soft loans till the world economy comes into normalcy overcoming the economic recession steaming from the Russia-Ukraine war.
“It is necessary to continue giving soft loans till the global economy goes back to normalcy. The organizations and the developed countries would have to give special focus on it,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing as the chief guest a programme marking the celebration of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh-Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnership at a city hotel.
She expressed her grave concern over the trend of increasing interest rate against loans by the development partners even in the global crisis for Russia-Ukraine war, economic sanction and counter sanctions which in most cases make their financing in development projects ineffective.
“We don’t want kindness from anyone, rather we want our due rights from the global partners,” she said.
The prime minister also expressed her resentment over imposing various unnecessary restrictions by business partners, saying: “It (restrictions) sends our economies in danger”.
In the current global context, she urged the IMF to come up with flexible and innovative financing in accelerating skill, health, ICT, infrastructure development, climate change and human resource development.
The premier however thanked the ADB for supporting Bangladesh in its need, saying the ADB’s cooperation has increased three times in the last one and a half decade since Awami League assumed power in 2009.
She added: “We are seeing with pleasure that the ADB always stands beside Bangladesh in our bad time with innovative financing and technological support.”
The premier recalled with gratitude that the ADB gave 2.29 billion USD support during the Covid-19 pandemic to deal with health emergencies and 230 million USD to overcome the damages of the flood in Bangladesh’s north-western part.
She added: “The relations between Bangladesh and the IMF will be more strengthened in the days to come.”
President of ADB Masatsugu Asakawa, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan, spoke at the programme.
ADB Country Director to Bangladesh EdimonGinting gave the concluding speech.
A video documentary on how Bangladesh-ADB relations evolve and how Bangladesh made progress over the 50 years and the recent time was also screened.
Sheikh Hasina said the world has been experiencing multiple challenges steaming out of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, economic sanctions and counter sanctions.
“We are the victims of the geopolitical crisis and we are in no way responsible for it. This is ruining our hard-earned achievements and leading us to an uncertain world. We are not even seeing any immediate solution to this crisis,” she added.
The premier said due to the global recession, most of the countries are going through an unprecedented food, fuel and financial crisis that resulted in depreciation of currencies, depletion of foreign reserves and acceleration of inflation.
She went on saying that the most serious concern is that these are disproportionately affecting the poorest segments of the global community.
The Bangladesh government and the ADB jointly organised the event titled “Celebrating Bangladesh-ADB 50 Years of Partnership.”
She mentioned that the ADB has become one of Bangladesh’s trusted development partners over the last 50 years and extended cooperation in almost all the sectors for Bangladesh’s socio-economic and infrastructural advancement.
“Currently, the cumulative contribution of the ADB has reached 28.38 billion USD that makes Bangladesh the 3rd largest recipient in ABD’s portfolio,” she added.
Bangladesh is now implementing 54 projects with ADB’s financial and technical assistance, she said.
Besides, ADB has been extending low-cost financing for the mitigation and adaptation of climate changes, she added.
Briefly describing her government development efforts in the last 14 years, she said Bangladesh is witnessing a momentous journey over the last one and a half decade particularly in reducing poverty, generating employment, dropping maternal and child mortality, increasing literacy rate and life expectancy, achieving food security and gender parity.
“We have been able to maintain over 6.5 percent growth rate during this period,” Sheikh Hasina said.
She said Bangladesh’s development efforts, particularly during the last one and a half decade, have been recognized by the global community.
“We will reach the milestone of a half trillion economy by next year. Bangladesh is currently the 35th largest economy in terms of GDP, and with consistent economic growth we will be the 28th largest economy by 2030 and the 24th largest economy by 2036,” she said.

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